Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The annual increasing number: 56

When I talk about my birthday each year, I try and find something different to say. Understandably, this becomes more difficult over time: There are only so many ways to talk about the same thing, after all. But I persist because I like the topic so much.

I talked about that part a little in my ABC Wednesday post for this week, when I said about focusing on my birthday: “If that sounds a little self-centred and narcissistic, well, that’s the point! It’s the one day a year that I can be the centre of attention, be pampered and spoiled, and not feel in any way guilty about it.” And that’s certainly a major aspect of this annual reflection.

But I’ve also become increasingly aware as the years pile up of how important it is to record all sorts of things that mark progress through life. Memory isn’t anywhere near as reliable as many people assume, but it tends to become less reliable as the years pass. I sometimes joke that I’ve forgotten more than I knew as an 18 year old. That’s an exaggeration, of course, but maybe not as big a one as I might hope.

Narcissistic: The obligatory birthday selfie.
These annual posts—along with ordinary posts about ordinary things—serve as a sort of institutional memory, a kind of “Arthur Cloud”. But they also do more: These posts help me remember things I’ve forgotten, or they might inspire me to reflect on memories that maybe I hadn’t examined before. Those are good things, too.

For example, it was through writing these posts that I realised just how highly I regard my birthday, not merely for the celebration or being the centre of attention, much as I like both, but because birthdays symbolise for me a fresh start, a new beginning, with the promise of unexplored territory ahead, sometimes laying just at the horizon or maybe around a bend, but there all the same. Looking back, then, has reminded me how much I value looking forward, and moving ahead.

Which is not to suggest that everything is flowers and chocolate bars all the time—every life has good and bad all mashed together. But, for me, birthdays are the day I get to forget all the bad stuff, and instead think of the good: What I have (especially my Nigel, family and friends), as well as what may yet come my way. And if all that’s not worthy of a blog post, I don’t know what is.

So, happy birthday to me. With luck, there’ll be many happy returns of these posts, too.

The Illinois Route 56 sign is a public domain graphic available from Wikimedia Commons. I should probably note that as far as I can remember, I’ve never been on Illinois Route 56, but it’s in my home state and says “56”. That’s reason enough to include it, since I often use such signs as an illustration. The photo of me is my own. Duh. It’s the “photo for another post” I referred to in a post earlier today.

My Previous Birthday posts:
2014: The annual increasing number: 55
2013: The annual increasing number: 54
2012: The annual increasing number
2011: The annual increasing number
2010: The annual increasing number
2009: Happy Birthday to Me…
2008: Another Birthday


rogerogreen said...

Damn, I HAVE forgotten more than I knew at 18, quite possibly. Of course, I keep learning new stuff, fortunately. HB, again.

Arthur (AmeriNZ) said...

I thought that was subtle… :-)

Arthur (AmeriNZ) said...

I think forgetting is a consequence of living. Or, so I console myslef… Thanks for the re-wishes!