Celebrating birthdays

Birthdays are a funny
thing.  When you are younger, you can’t
wait for the next one because it means you are that much closer to being grown
up, and as you get older, that excitement and anticipation reduces until should
anyone ask your age or mention your upcoming annual reminder, you are more
liable to bite their head off than thank them for their interest and good
wishes.  Last weekend I attended my
friend Paul’s 40th birthday, and it was great to see this milestone celebrated
with the full pageantry it deserved. 
I’ve always been a birthday person, but not everyone feels the same way…

My siblings and I all
fall in the September/October corridor. 
Luckily I am the only one in September, so I had a fighting chance of
not sharing my Special Day with any of the others when I was a child.  Regardless, I’m sure my parents started
bracing themselves every August for the onslaught of the next two months –
getting the right presents, putting on a party that wouldn’t turn into a social
minefield and generally trying to make sure that the other sons or daughters
didn’t feel slighted when their birthday rolled around.  When we grew up, both of my brothers married
women born near the end of September, which led to the stern warning that I was
not allowed to court any gentleman born in the Fall.  Frankly should a desirable suitor appear at
this stage in my life, I’m not kicking him to the curb solely based on the
month of his birth.  I’LL buy the gifts
and everyone can just put their names on them.

Being honest about
one’s age is a dodgy subject.  I’ve not
lied about mine thus far, but who knows in a few years’ time? (See “desirable
suitor” above.)  Men don’t seem to be so bothered
about announcing their age, but then I’ve not known that many who are
particularly bananas about making a fuss on their birthday.  Me, I’m all about the getting together with
good company and cake, and announcing to anyone who’ll give me the time of day
how important a date it is.  It’s amazing
to see how Facebook has significantly increased the well-wishes from friends
all over the world!  Those reminders on
the right-hand side of the screen are a great boon to those of us who forget
dates – now it’s so easy to send a message in a few seconds, and hey-ho, you’re
thoughtful and punctual!  My mother
feels, as many do, that there is something much more personal in a handwritten
card or letter.  I agree with her…right
up until the day is upon me and I’ve forgotten to buy or write anything in
advance.  Technology is the saviour of
the unreliable.

Birthdays can be
everything from non-events to parties that go to 11 (Spinal Tap fans will get
that one.)  When we’re kids they normally
involve games; possibly a piñata that never hurt anyone yet gets bashed until its
candy entrails hit the floor, and of course, a cake.  You’d think that as we mature, so the parties
do the same.  I’m the gal who had her
30th at then-Café Med with a complete Spongebob Squarepants theme.  It’s hard to understand why my date for that
dinner didn’t stick around in my life for much longer afterwards.  Tartare sauce.

We took my compadre
Mark to Vegas for his 40th.  He stayed
out a little too late the night before, and ended up nursing a coca-cola on the
big day, still looking a delicate shade of green.  Sometimes these plans just don’t work out as
they’re supposed to. My 40th was a more sedate affair at the Ritz-Carlton,
arranged by amazing friends and family. 
As my friend Lynne and I have birthdays eight days apart, it was a joint
celebration complete with a cake that looked more like a wedding cake than
anything else.  As we cut it together, I
thought “Gee, this will really help our single status.”

I think as the
majority of us get older, we’re not so bothered about the presents so much as just
finding an excuse to socialize with people we don’t get to see as often these
days.  (That’s just my opinion, before
someone takes my bright idea, runs with it, and upsets their significant other
with a thoughtful card and nothing else.) 
We tend to get separated by different pursuits, family….life.  Despite the fact that it’s an awfully small
island, it’s amazing how rarely we can find the time to come together as a
group and catch up.  Last Friday was a
prime example – I spent time with familiar faces I hadn’t clapped eyes upon in
months, and we all looked fantastic!

So I turned 41 on the
10th of this month, and I’m reminded of it every time I plug the information
into the treadmill to get an accurate calorie reading.  I’m less inclined to cover that digital
readout with my hand than I am my weight, lest curious eyes from the machine
next to me should wander over in my direction. 
I’m still keeping the pounds off, but I think many would be nonetheless
surprised to the see the numbers.  I keep
telling everyone that I’m tall and have bones of lead.

I don’t think I’ll
stop celebrating birthdays anytime soon, but perhaps that’s because I’ve never
shied away from being the centre of attention. 
Bring on the adoration – I can take it! 
I guess we need to respect those who don’t want to recognize the date
for whatever reason, even if we don’t understand it.  I’m not counting down the days until the next
one, but when it shows up I’m going gentle into that good year without a
fight…straight after fireworks, and cake, and dancing, and music and…