Saturday, August 26, 2006

You Say It's Your Birthday...

Well, actually it's my birthday—as of about 29 minutes ago...

This is one of those birthdays that seems numerically significant, although there's no reasonable explanation as to why it should. I was born in 1953; as of today, I am 53 years old. Having shortened my birth year to 53 for most of the 20th Century (when we never thought that much about the fact that the year 2000 might require a four-digit year to clarify which century we're talking about) it seems metaphysically significant that I am 53 this year; there's some cosmic balance that has been achieved, although one that will have little impact on me or anyone else. And what a simple achievement it was—all I had to do was stay alive for 53 years!

Since my birthday is on a Saturday, some of my friends commemorated the occasion a day early, realizing that they might not see me on the day of my naissance. Brett gave me a copy of Scott Beatty's training guide for would-be Batmen... it's lots of fun, and I joked about using it on my nightly "patrols." He also gave me a bag of Lindt extra-dark chocolate truffles, which are remarkably rich and at the same time mellow without the bitterness of some extra-dark chocolates; I've written about them previously here, in fact.

Whitney, also catering to my affection for rich dark chocolate flavor, prepared an exceptional chocolate soufflé that undoubtedly contained inordinate amounts of cocoa; it had great tongue appeal as well as a full-bodied but not overpowering chocolate flavor. I had never had a chocolate soufflé before, but I couldn't have asked for a better introduction!

My bestest friend Bob Wayne called this evening, and we actually had almost a half an hour to talk, catch up on things, and even joke around a litle bit. Bob is a true kindred soul, someone with whom I share so many things in common it's uncanny. It always brightens my day to have a chance to talk with him; I look forward to a time when we can talk even more frequently.

Later today (I had to strike the initial word I typed, since it was "tomorrow" and it's now 46 minutes into the 26th as I continue my nattering), Susan and I will drive to Rome and spend a few hours with Dad and Kim. Don't know if Cole and Christy and Jess and Adam will make it or not. Cole and Christy are closing on a house on Monday, and are probably hip-deep in packing and preparing for the move, since they have four days to vacate the duplex they were renting; Jess has two jobs plus college on her mind, and seems to have less spare time than ever before. It still amazes me sometimes to realize that they're busy pursuing their own lives as adults; I'll always remember them as those energetic, enthusiastic children of years past, when all of us were young and healthy and blissfully carefree.

I'm not so much a big birthday person, to be honest. I don't like to mention my birthday to others, because I think it seems like I'm trolling for gifts or cards or greetings. My birthday is significant to me in some ways, but not in the usual "I'm getting older" ritual; I feel only a few minutes older than I was when I was still 52, some 52 minutes ago (aha—yet another bit of numerical synchronicity!). I enjoy and feel appreciative that there are some who feel my presence is sufficiently meaningful that they wish to acknowledge it with a kind word or a gift or a moment of recognition, but I never think enough of my birthday to expect or desire others to go out of their way to celebrate it. We all have too much of our own lives to celebrate, to experience, and (sometimes) to endure; to expect someone to put all that aside seems irrationally egocentric. Of course, I can be as egocentric as anyone (and often moreso!)...

There are times when I can get wistful to the point of melancholia considering birthdays—not that I regret having them, mind you, but I do sometimes regret how they remind me of so many days that have passed by sans celebration, sans recognition. Sometimes we're so busy living the days that we don't take the time to really appreciate the thousands of significant moments that comprise each and every one of them. Birthdays, in reminding us of the eventfulness of one day, can sometimes underscore our tendency to overlook the eventfulness of all the others.

Sometimes I wish I had the tenacity to contact friends on my birthday and just say thanks—thanks for all the days brightened, all the memories evoked, all the happy moments enhanced, all the sorrowful burdens lessened by shared sadness. Perhaps we should spend a little bit of our birthdays letting others know that they have made the years worthwhile... but to do so might seem in itself to be another way of saying "it's my birthday," which would defeat the whole purpose, wouldn't it?

It's my birthday... has been for an hour and three minutes now. Thanks for caring!

1 comment:

Tredekka said...

Happy birthday Cliff!!