Today I’m a birthday boy. Only comes once a year (and once is enough, thank you), and in true curmudgeonly style, I usually don’t make a fuss about celebrating the day I came into the world. Never have thought that one day a year should be special when in reality they should all be special.
As I conclude my first year of my second half-century, I notice I’m more reflective about intangibles than when younger. I also notice a disturbing, creeping emotionalism over the last 10+ years. Not sure I like that, but do like the peripheral benefits of compassion and awareness that comes with a more emotional thought. I’ve also never been a nostalgic thinker, preferring to ponder the moment and plan the future (when I’m not dwelling on past shouldas, a habit I’m working hard at breaking). But my intensive writing over the last few months has, to my surprise, dredged my past and surfaced a lot of memories…not dogmatic ones, but fond experiences that meant something and were thankfully stored and not thrown away by the internal one. Guess I didn’t realize then that my mind was doing me a favor by silently making a backup copy of these events, being omniscient while I was merely oblivious. Writing, if done honestly and consistently, will surface lost and/or distant moments (both good and bad) at times when we most need them.
As usual, my celebration will be mostly quiet. I’m nearing the point where the local fire department has to be notified prior to the traditional lighting of birthday-cake candles, so I’ll dispense with that (besides, I’m eating low-carb and birthday cake, while special, ain’t low anything). My two boys have birthdays next month, and by contrast that event will seem like the Astros won the World Series (this year, just watch) compared to my quiet reflection. But I’m more than okay with that. When we’re young, birthdays are major events in our drive to become mature, to always be older than our biological clocks would have us be. But as we get older, the “another year and I’m still alive” approach seems to replace the excitement of youth. This celebration over beating the devil just one more time seems counterproductive to what’s important. After all, living should be about the journey, not measuring the distance.