Mind-blowing right? I'm like the first person you've ever met in the entire universe who gets pensive, neurotic, and sentimental surrounding her birthday.
But this is my first birthday during which I am keeping a blog, so I thought I would take some time to articulate my thoughts and experiences about the subject into words.
First off, I have a summer birthday, which in theory is awesome--no school, clear weather, banana ice cream (in my case at least). But in terms of corralling people together to watch you blow out candles, the logistics are a bit more complicated. During the school year when it's your birthday, even if you have no friends at all you can still bring in cupcakes and other kids will pretend to like you for the time they spend licking up the frosting. And if you do have friends, they might come to school early and decorate your locker and then your emotional validation is displayed for the world to see. In the summer, on the other hand, any social gathering must be planned and organized and RSVP'ed, which becomes complicated by the array of scheduled sports, sleepaway camps, and family vacations.
Which brings it to the second major reason that birthdays have always been somewhat angsty for me: over roughly the first half of my life, my birthday coincided with the American Natural Hygiene Society conference.
No this was not a gathering of dentists--the American Natural Hygiene Society was the vegan organization that formed my family's diet and lifestyle. My dad, raised a raw foodist, had been attending the conferences his entire life and my mom since she was 10 years old. They met and fell in love there and when they divorced obsessively healthful eating was one of the few things they still agreed upon. Along with my family, there were a gaggle of other kids who convened every year with their parents in whatever city the conferences took place; for a while, the venues shifted from city to city, but by the time I was in elementary school they were either in Fort Lauderdale or Washington, DC (I still bear a small grudge against Georgetown for the night a door ran over my big toe the night before my seventh birthday). While they used to throw a joint celebration for all of the kids whose birthdays were in July, because my Dad was President of the ANHS for most of my childhood and sort of felt like some kind heiress, like the Paris Hilton of veganism.
|So much banana ice cream...|
Even this past Sunday night I kind of freaked out at Trader Joe's when I saw the weather forecast called for rain, putting the kibosh on plans for a casual picnic and I had to come up with a not-lame idea that wouldn't force my friends to spend a ton of money none of us have. We're going to karaoke--it's likely going to be a ton of fun. What most excites me is the opportunity to bring together friends from my different communities out here. To integrate.
Integrate. Perhaps that's what this has always been about--having people around me to share my milestones, thoughts and experiences. Integrating the past divided between parents, interests, health conferences and finding a consistent core. So as mark another birthday, to old friends and true, to old friends and new, I wish that good luck go with you--and happiness too.
Have a good one today, too.