Friday, January 22, 2021

The annual increasing number: 62

It’s that time again: My birthday has rolled around. I care about that only slightly more than I did last year, which I said at the time was “pretty much a non-event”, because it was. Last year I was in the midst of moving to Hamilton, and that disrupted things so much that I wasn’t even able to have birthday cake with family. This year, things are much more relaxed, at the very least.

Overall, I’m not doing much of anything beyond existing. That’s a simple reality that many people in my position won’t talk about, probably because they think it’s too depressing or because they think others will judge them for it. I care about all that far less than I do about my birthday.

In past years (links at the bottom of this post), what made my birthday fun was Nigel. Every day with him was a gift (even the ones where he was grumpy…), and that made me appreciate my birthday because it meant another entire year of my life spent with him. On top of that, he always made a fuss of me on my birthday, usually getting me a present, often taking me out to dinner even when my birthday was in the middle of the week, when he was quite tired in the evening. He made my birthday fun.

Now, all of that is gone.

The reality is that I don’t think that the fact I survived another full year is anything to celebrate in itself (except insofar as doing so during a global pandemic and with the growing threat of fascism around the world it’s an achievement for anyone). Still, I know that people will reach out to me, as they always do, and I always appreciate that—and probably more than they realise. But the fact is, none of them are Nigel.

The only thing I’d planned for my birthday was a trip to the dental hygienist, only because that was the first available appointment, as I mentioned when I made the appointment back in December. That was the first available appointment with the hygienist, and since I'd put off treatment since May of 2019 (when I was hospitalised), I didn't want to wait any longer (if I recall correctly, the next available appointment was quite a bit later on). To be sure, even quite a bit wouldn't have been enough to make me choose this particular way to "celebrate" my birthday if I wasn't keen to get this cleaning/inspection/oil change done as soon as possible.

However, that really would have been the extent of it if my cousin-in-law hadn’t organised for us all to go out for Thai for my birthday. As it happens, there was a time when we used to go out for Thai for people’s birthdays, and Nigel usually organised the one for mine. The restaurant we used to go to closed many years ago, so we started going to other restaurants/cafes. Then, of course, we moved away from Auckland’s North Shore.

This year, we went to a Thai restaurant here in Hamilton that I’ve been to before. They have nice food (which is the whole point, after all), but the company was lovely, too—it’s always nice to spend time with family.

Last night, though, there was one more aspect: I thought about the reality we were experiencing, different from my homeland: We don't physically distance because we don't presently have community transmission of Covid, and haven't for many, many months. It was a reasonably crowded restaurant, and no one there wore a mask because no one needed to. All of which made my birthday all the better, not the least because it gave me something extra to be happy about: Being able to enjoy normal life—whatever that means.

Tonight I’m having some of the family around for a roast chicken dinner, which was originally going to be the extent of my celebrations (because I celebrate my birthday over 48 hours). Now it’ll be the conclusion to this year’s observances instead the sole event.

There’s just one more thing (jeez, I sound like an Apple product launch…): After I got home last night, I poured myself a wine, fed the dogs, and then sat down to watch TV for a bit before finishing this post. I promptly fell asleep, without even finishing my wine. Getting up at 5:15am to watch the Inauguration of President Biden took its toll, especially because I’d been up late the night before (I didn’t plan on getting up to watch, so I hoped being tired would allow me to sleep through it all; in the end, the sleeping was done by Leo on my lap as I watched the proceedings). Even that was related to Nigel, as I said in my post about it.

The reality is that even now, my second birthday since Nigel died, he's still on my mind, and my sense of loss is bigger on my (and his) birthday than it is most other days. That's why I wasn't keen on celebrating this year, but the fact I ended up doing things anyway is a demonstration of the importance of what I still do have. In a way, Nigel's still giving me a birthday present. Thanks, sweetheart.

Here’s my annual birthday selfie, taken on my birthday just before I left the house to go to dinner:

The Illinois Route 62 sign is a public domain graphic available from Wikimedia Commons. According to Wikipedia: Illinois Route 62 “is a 20.82-mile-long (33.51 km) east–west state road in northeast Illinois. It runs from western Algonquin at IL 31 (Western Algonquin Bypass) to the intersection with IL 83 (Elmhurst Road) by industrial Mount Prospect.” It’s possible that I was on that road at some point, but I don’t know either way.

My Previous Birthday posts:

2020: The annual number increase happened
2019: Another 'Big Birthday'
2018: The annual increasing number: 59
2017: The annual increasing number: 58
2016: The annual increasing number: 57
2015: The annual increasing number: 56
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


Roger Owen Green said...

"One more thing" - you sound more like Columbo.

Arthur Schenck said...

Heheheh, yeah, but I gave up my trenchcoat many years ago…