Monday, January 21, 2008

Another Birthday

Birthdays are great. Every year I look forward to mine, and today is that day. I've never talked about it here on my blog, though there's no particular reason for that. I guess now is as good a time as any.

Nigel outdid himself to give me a great birthday. We had some people around for a BBQ last night, then today he and I went out to dinner at our favourite Thai restaurant. He gave me all kinds of cool stuff for my podcasting, too. In truth, even after all these years he still amazes me.

Birthdays are more than meals and presents, fun as they are. Many years ago, when I reached the point that Christmas stopped having my meaning for me personally, I looked toward New Year as the height of the holidays. I always thought they were filled with so much hope and optimism—a beginning filled with opportunities. To me, everything felt new again at the New Year.

So I was lucky to have a birthday only three weeks later. Birthdays are kind of like a personal New Year, and being so close to the main one, I had three weeks of that optimistic feeling. I still do, and it takes most of the year to grind me down to the numbness of day-to-day life.

However, getting older can kind of dampen down that enthusiasm a bit. One becomes aware, as the birthdays pile up, that they are finite and that there are consequences to getting older. But I've always said that getting older beats the alternative, because there's only one way to stop having birthdays.

My Dad reached a point, as apparently a lot of people do after a certain age, when he stopped celebrating birthdays. “I just observe them,” he said. Every year my mother would make him a cherry pie and whatever he wanted for dinner. The dinner choice was something we all got on our birthdays, but I don't remember my mother having any special choice. Maybe I've just forgotten.

Anyway, I'm different from my Dad, though the years have revealed unexpected ways in which we're alike. While he observed birthdays, I still celebrate them and I still have the optimism I always felt, now tinged with a certain relief at having completed another year.

But the main thing is, this was a good birthday. Again.


Anonymous said...

Happy birthday! :)

Re our onliest prez, et al: oh hell yes! The long national nightmare is nearly over! :)

Re the pie crust: Not a thing was said in this household about it. There may have been a *look*...but nothing was *said.* ;)


Dennis said...

Happy birthday!

Unknown said...

Happy Birthday, Arthur! I'm sure by the time you get this your day will be over, but you can always do the "Alice in Wonderland" thing and celebrate your "un-birthday."

Take care, and I'll be talking to you soon!


d said...

Happy Belated Arthur! I'm glad you have Nigel, and that he helped make your birthday special. =)

Anonymous said...

Herzlichen Glückwunsch zum Geburtstag lieber Arthur!!!
Kia huritau ki a koe! (is there a special Maori birthday tradition?)
Χρονια πολλα (Chronia polla as my Greek family would say, "Many years")
Happy birthday dear Arthur - belated due to the time shift (I always calculate the wrong direction) but nevertheless with all my love!

Hugs and best wishes from Stuttgart!!!!


Arthur Schenck said...

Debra: Thanks! Yep, can't wait until the Bushies are gone. Don't worry: No one said anything about my pie crust, either.

Dennis: Thanks! I love your blog!

David: Thanks! Actually, I think I'm going to be like Archerr and have a birthday month! ;-)

Have a happy birthday this week, too!

D: Thanks for the birthday wishes! Everyday with Nigel is special, birthdays are just more so.

Arthur Schenck said...

Vielen dank, lieber Michael! Es macht mir sehr froh, gutes Freunden zu haben. (all of which goes to show why I never try to communicate in German anymore...)

Seriously, thank you very much for the greetings, and for your support. Actually, I don't know if there are any special Maori birthday traditions--I'll have to find out.

Thanks again!

Nik said...

Happy (slightly belated) birthday, mate!

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday, Arthur! (Well, belated birthday---I'll try to be more punctual next year!)

Arthur Schenck said...

Nik: Thanks!

Mark: Thank you!

Actually—and this is for many people—no one had much chance of being on time, since I never mentioned my birthday until this year, and then only just as it was happening. But look at this way: You all have a year to shop for my big birthday next year....