Reflections on Birthdays Past and Present
This past week I celebrated my 43rd birthday. I love my birthday. I love the date -- 9/27. As a math-lover, my mind automatically adds the 2 and 7 to get 9! My daughter's birthday is the same way -- 7/16--1+6=7. My son's is cool, too -- 2/22/06 -- 2+2+2=6! Ok, it is official. I'm a geek. I love that I share my birthday with Google! It's true! Google it! I smile when I see the birthday-themed Google Doodle each September 27. I like to think it is just for me.
I feel that birthdays and age should be celebrated. My grandmother is a proud 97 years old. She looks and acts younger than most people who are 70! She talks about being seated at a luncheon with the "old people," who are usually about 20 years younger than she is. Age may be a number, but it does not need to define your attitude.
So, as I turn another year older, and officially reach what some might consider is my mid-forties (really?!? How is that possible?), I want to take a moment to reflect on a few memorable birthdays.
Age 0, 1973 -- If you know me, you know that I am usually late. I have had this issue with time since birth. My mom had a planned C-section for September 25. Well, after arriving at the hospital, they were told that the doctors were too busy, and they needed to return two days later. So, yes, I was even late for my own birth! (As an aside, I once read that late people are actually more optimistic than people who are on time. They are always optimistic that they can get more done in the time they have than they really can. This definitely holds true for me!)
Age 12, 1985 -- When you celebrate your birthday in middle school, you secretly hope that your friends will leave you balloons on your locker, give you high-fives as you walk through the halls, and sing to you during lunch. Unfortunately, for my 12th birthday, Hurricane Gloria made an appearance. They canceled school. It was a Friday. By the time Monday rolled around, everyone had forgotten it had been my birthday. 0 balloons + 0 high-fives + 0 songs = 1 devastated preteen!
Age 26, 1999 -- I had been teaching for four years, and decided to make a transition to publishing. After several rounds of interviews and writing samples, I was offered my first editorial job at a teacher's magazine in NYC--on my birthday! One of the best birthday presents ever, and I feel good karma that my career was heading in the right direction.
Age 40, 2013 -- The big 4-0! Some people cower under the covers for the week of their fortieth birthday. My husband threw me a party that was exactly right for me! We rented the picnic grove at a local park, invited a few close families, and played kickball and lawn games. It was the perfect way to enter the next decade.
While I definitely don't want a big party every year, I do try to make an effort to make it a special day (or even week!) and surround myself with family and friends. Waking up to birthday greetings and cards, finding the stuffed animal party scene my kids and husband set up for me, and inviting some friends to lunch or for an impromptu bar-b-que all help me celebrate and appreciate another year of love, friendship, accomplishments, and life.
Now, I had better stop typing -- as usual, I'm late for my own birthday lunch!