My philosophy teacher in high school had a birthday wish that has been my favorite ever since. He used to say: “I wish you precisely what you wish yourself today!”. It’s a bit of a cop out, but it’s so selfless, too!
There is something that makes your heart jump when the age on your MySpace profile rolls over from one number to the next overnight. You hold your breath, you dig out all the tax documents, the Cosmo magazines, the market surveys you’ve been emailed over time and which are stored by the thousands in the Junk email folder and you want to know: “Oh, hell, did I slide over in a different bracket now??? Is a whole new (older) generation of men going to hit on me now?!”. And you breathe a sigh of relief when you realize that … nope, not yet: you got one more year… or two… But you know you’re old enough!
If you know me at all, you know that I somehow insist to be sad on my birthday every year. Not sure why, but I am! I am not making myself sad, it just happens that way …
The passing of time, the hopeless irreversibility of it, I guess, does it every time. I am usually pretty happy with what I have done so far in my life, and where I have been. Maybe the fact that I can’t do the last year or years all over again brings sadness?!
To soothe the melancholy about becoming older, God (an ironic and clever one too) put next to my dinner table a group of 20 some year old girls who were talking about life (hhmmm…yeah, they thought so!), dating and weekend plans. Of course I eavesdropped! Every 3 words that came out of their mouths was followed by “like”. They were not “cold”, they were “like cold”. And the sushi was “like expensive”. Their next boyfriend “MUST adore sushi, or else he doesn’t make the cut. Because, you see, that’s like important to me!” – one said. And I thought I had dating issues!
Then, I also found out that 20 some year olds are grossed out by the thought of sharing food. Even appetizers or sushi. Hhmm… That sense of fierce individualism and selfishness and over-protectiveness is indeed getting the next generation: always on the lookout for what to fear next; the next cataclysm that can potentially kill them, like germs from each other, maybe?!
And that’s when I thought: my bracket might not be the first one listed in the surveys anymore, and I won’t get hunks to hit on me anymore, but I would not give anything to go back in time, not even 10 years. Not even 5 !!! I’m enjoying the little bit of sophistication I am showing for my years. Just like wine, you know what they say! Oh, the insecurities, and fears, and cheap talk… Not missing them much!
This year, my birthday came with good and bad surprises, as always. People that I even forgot they knew my name emailed and sent me cards. And people I thought I mean a lot to forgot it altogether.
I always wondered how to take the fact that some ex’es forget my birthday? As a compliment: they know I hate my birthdays and they don’t want to remind me?! Or as an insult: that we can’t even be friends, since I don't need to be remembered by them not even once a year, on my day?! Still debating, but I think they’re screwed!
I will probably still not enjoy my birthdays as much as my mom does! She tells me the story of my birth all over again, every year, with renewed enthusiasm, like it’s the first time, and she throws two parties, one for her friends and one for work, although I’ve lived on a different continent for 10 years now. (Aren’t people having kids for such selfish reasons?!)
But I can’t be too sad nor complain much this April, either: I’ve eaten my favorite food, got nice presents from my closest friends and family, I missed a dear friend I lost, was remembered by long forgotten friends, traveled, of course, even had a cake, even shopped just like a girl should on her birthday.
And although a lot of folks said a lot of nice things indeed, the nicest, most wonderful wish I have received was from a total stranger. And although it was directed to my group of girlfriends, I took it personally, as the birthday timing seemed appropriate to do so. Instead of “good bye”, the funny man on the pier said this weekend: “May every day be a party, and every meal be a picnic!”
And that is all I am wishing myself for the next year!