This is rather long, so I hope I do not get too many” tl;dr” (too long; didn't read)
(July 02) Today is my birthday. It does not show up on anyone's notices because I do not care that today is my birthday. I do not celebrate it. Birthdays are a reminder of the ticking clock. Another year of your life gone. It is not how I want to remember my life. This is not some reverse psychology attempt at attention or something. It really does mean very little to me. Some people are all “today is your day” and “it is all about you”. I live alone. With a dog. Every day is about me. I take the day off from work when it is not on the weekend. That is the extent of my observation. Just because I do not celebrate it, does not mean I want to work on it.
For some people, on their birthdays, I write a short letter. Something that I hope they will read and appreciate. I think through the year and my involvement in their life during that year or what I see as their accomplishments which they may have taken for granted.
For me, personal messages like this are so much more important. Anyone can look at a calendar or be reminded by however many apps that now track your social contacts (on all of which I have set my birthday to private) just to send a half thought out “Happy birthday” to be immediately forgotten. It is different when you get a sudden message from someone who was at a store and saw something and then “oh my god, I was at this store and I saw this shirt and it reminded me of you so much. Remember that time we.....” much better. When a person can show that they actually have thought of you, then the day is not what is important. Any day can make you feel special when someone you care about shows you that you are important to them.
So today, being my birthday, I am going to share a few random memories of some people.
One weekend in first year university I took off from campus with my friends Sara and Julie and trekked out to Bewdley. We stayed at Sara's family cottage house and ate junk, watched movies and talked for the night. I got to introduce Sara to my favourite theatre themed movie All That Jazz. Julie kept eating the raw beef while we all argued with each other over how a proper hamburger should be made. Julie believed in a burger being a half cooked giant meatball. That was our weekend and many things happen that bring it back to my mind all these years later.
One evening during second year, in the midst of an emotional crisis, my friend John came walking into my res room with his acoustic guitar and a bottle of tequila. He came in, opened my cabinet, took out my bottle of Crown Royal and said, “If I am drinking, you're drinking.” He strummed on his guitar while we sat and talked for hours about how our lives had changed since starting university. I had never spent much quiet time with John, but that moment stood out. He needed someone to talk to and in a residence building where everyone knew him, he turned to me. When his bottle was empty, he thanked me for the talk and walked off down the hall.
For three years, I lived in a house with a number of friends. Like in all such arrangements, there were good moments and bad. When things went really bad, I ran away to Spencerville and, for a few years now, have regretted that move. But when things were good, we had some great times. Living just a short block away was my friend Andrea. Every now and then she would come over for dinner and we would drink many bottles of wine and talk away the evening. Some bottles were so horrifically bad that we kept drinking them just for the laugh at how bad they were. Those were what dinner parties are meant to be.
Last season, I got the tickets to an Ottawa Senators game when I had the next day off. A very rare thing for me to luck into. It is often difficult for me to find someone to go to a game, since it is usually short notice and often on a Thursday that I get the tickets. Work night and short notice usually leaves me scrambling. My friend Brendan was able to go with me that night. And it only got better. Since neither of us had to get up in the morning and I did not have to rush home for Duncan, we went out for something to eat after the game. We talked for hours. And by hours, I mean it was 3 AM when I finally got home. It was a perfect evening with the perfect company.
It is moments like these that mean so much. A short while spent with people you care about and in those moments you can feel so important. I want people to know that they are important to me. There is no treasure, no dollar value, worth more to me than those few people with whom I want to share my life. So, while “Happy Birthday” just reminds us that the clock is ticking, there are so many random memories that remind us that we can live lives worth living.