1) The most memorable birthdays I’ve had were in multiples of six, so I already know this year will be a bust. I remember my sixth birthday clearly, I woke up for school and there were presents lined up on my dresser. I think the Birthday Fairy put them there; absolutely no recollection of what was in those packages, but it instilled a love of prettily-wrapped boxes, surprises and birth recognition in me. On my twelfth birthday, I went downstairs for breakfast (no doubt a bowl of oatmeal– un-yummy, but yea thanks parents for feeding me– even it was horribly, bland oatmeal), and there beside my chair was a blue, 10-speed bicycle. The best birthday gift I’ve received to date. On my upcoming birthday, I’d like to be surprised, and not a surprise as in someone jumping from behind a closed door. Maybe, I’ll surprise myself… how?
2) The birthdays in multiples of five were life-changing. There’s something about a five that seems definite and significant. In my 25th year of life, I got a bed (*note I didn’t say that I bought a bed). There was something about being 25 that made sleeping on a mattress desirable… I thought, “Wow 25, this is adulthood, better get a bed.” Big hm. My 25th year was also the year that I decided to go back to college. It must’ve hit me either while getting tipsy at work as a hostess, or tipsy with my friends at Buttercup Lounge where I celebrated the day, or at Ludlow Bar, or in dire straits and begging my mother for financial help, that at some point I’d need an education and a real job. The thing is I can’t see what’s really changed since then. Big hm.
At twenty-five, I also went to the barber and shaved my head, not like Kojak, but close enough. Scalp could be seen; my mother hated it, and I loved it. Yes, 25– the year for change, rejuvenation, decision-making. How does it go backwards from there?
3) The birthdays in the last five years have been not only disappointing but downright ugly. The reasons could be plentiful: shock, anger, depression…. wait a sec, it’s beginning to sound like dealing with death. On one birthday, while living in Kingston, my friends threw me a surprise birthday party. It had to be one of the worst nights of my life… the night ended on this note: the guy that I went to the party with accused me of gin abuse (imagine if he’d known me just a few years before); I couldn’t even get upset because I’d had too much gin. Hm. A few birthdays following that one, a very close friend and I got into a huge fight… about what I can’t recall. It’s a shame that in recent years the day has resulted in casualties. Thankfully, this year I’m not hiding or shell-shocked or hostile (probably because I’m around people who don’t know that my birthday’s soon).
4) It’s crazy, as I sit here and write this, I can’t remember most of the birthdays… I lied to my friends about being older for so long in high school and college that I never had birthday parties. It became ingrained to “not celebrate,” and as the years flew by, it started to make more and more sense to stay home and feel miserable about getting older. What a joke… when I was never “older” at all. I wonder if a few years down the line, I’ll look back at this time, and see how ridiculous it all is… how ridiculous I was.