Today is the first day of my birth month. When I was about 4 years old, I began to understand time. I had learned what months were and that November was the month in which I was born. I knew that November followed October. But, sadly for my parents, I did not yet have awareness of how many days there were in a month or which exact day was my birthday. Every morning for 11 days, as soon as my eyes popped open (usually around 5:30 or 6am back then – man, what happened to THAT energy???!), I would run to my mother’s bedside to ask if it was my birthday yet. I’m sure by day 4 of this new ritual, my mother was grateful I had delivered 2 weeks early. And so the 11 Days of Kristin’s birthday was born.
I was, and remain, the only person who has ever really celebrated it, but those around me have often been sucked into my self-adulation (‘Shots for my birthday! (in 6 days)’, ‘Let’s have birthday cake (even though my birthday isn’t til Tuesday)’, ‘I’m ordering the filet to celebrate my birthday (in a week)’ ). There will likely be a bit of that this year, so beware of the randomness that will be the celebration of my 40th Do Over.
Every day will start with a birthday memory blog. Hug It Out Saturday is now Hug It Out November. If you don’t like being hugged you’d better warn me cause I’m comin’ in for it otherwise. Proclamations of ‘let’s go get pedicures!’ will likely pop up.
To put this in context, last year’s birthday was #40 and was a little anticlimactic. I say anticlimactic. It was really more like the worst birthday of my life – or at least since my 16th birthday when, due a cluster fuck of bad decisions that only an unsupervised 15 year old can make, I didn’t have any actual friends, much less anyone who wanted to celebrate my existence.
It was anticlimactic in that the invitation sent out the night of my 39th birthday to 500 of my closest friends and relatives boldly announcing the party to end all parties, to make up for every milestone party I had been denied, was rescinded when it became clear that Dad wasn’t going to live that long. The party was supposed to be for him and my mother – gratitude for having me, you know. And, when I say I was denied milestone parties, I’m serious. No Sweet 16, no off the hook 21st, 2 weddings and not one bachelorette or engagement party, or bridal shower, only 1 had a reception that was awkward at best, and only 1 had a honeymoon, sort of. For 40, I had the alcohol sponsor, the bands, a few possible venues picked out, and was talking to a couple of food vendors as well. It was gonna be TIGHT!
Unfortunately, 40 would succumb to the same fate as all the rest of the milestones. It became one of the most awkward gatherings of people I love I have ever witnessed – outside of family functions. The Scottish/Celtic types were on one end of the table, the Buddhists were on the other end and me and a guy I had been dating for about a month in the middle (I told him he didn’t have to come to brunch but he insisted, who was I to argue?!). It really spoke volumes of the clash of worlds within my own and the transition my life was about to take. It was a memorable birthday, to be sure, and I am grateful to the brave souls that joined me for it.
41 is going to be BRILLIANT. I can feel it in my bones…
So, WELCOME! to the 11 Days of Kristin’s Birthday!!
Happy first day of your birthday! Your blog (and the experiences that led to your writing of it) eloquently illustrates the point I believe John Lennon was making when he said, “Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” Your celebrations have not been conveniently timed to align with your milestone dates, but I suspect that you celebrated being 21 by being a beautiful and brilliant 21 year-old. You celebrated your wedding by wholeheartedly and optimistically believing in “happily ever after,” and then having a loving enough heart to find yourself believing in it again.
Sounds like you may have hit one of your life’s “downs” at age 16. At the time I met you, it was probably the next year. In spite of (or perhaps because of) the challenges you had already gotten yourself through, you were already such a talented, witty, and full-of-life girl that I found myself filled with a mixture of admiration and insecurity whenever I was around you. You were extraordinary then, and having had the gift of a good number of years to settle yourself into who you are and who you want to become I can only imagine what an amazing and unique person you are today.
There are people who diligently set money aside for their retirement. It’s not exciting, it may mean a practical car instead of something flashy, or more dinners-in instead of at fancy restaurants, but their savings growd. There are others who save nothing at all and play the lottery…counting on the big win will not be able to retire until they are too old, or too unwell to work anymore. Even though you didn’t have the flashy and showy parties in the past, you have probably seen enough Bridezilla shows to know that those big blowouts are not always what they’re cracked up to be…but of course, your next one CAN be.
Incidentally, my birthday falls on the 12th of my birth month, and I have always been one who, like you, gets excited to turn the calendar page to “my” month, count down to it, announce it, and just generally be happy about it. More obnoxious, for a week or so afterward, I drop into conversations that my birthday just passed. I’ve never had a huge party, and I am not big on gifts. I think i just really, really like hearing, “Happy Birthday” and having cake.
Keep celebrating your life! “The future is no place to place your better days” — Dave Matthews.
I want hugs! I want hugs! 🙂
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