HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!
Yes, I celebrate my own birthday. Being alive is still better than the alternative. Remarkably, I have garnered criticism for it over the years. “It’s all about you!” as if being glad to have been born, to be alive, is some kind of ego trip. Well YEAH! It’s my birthday!
The older I get, the less I care about those critics, a true sign of “aging,” though my consciousness of those censures still lingers. If individuals have a problem with my birthday - the fact that I openly, unabashedly celebrate it - I think the issues of ego are theirs own, not mine.
We are all products of our childhood, and the subsequent paths we travel. I had a pretty good childhood, despite what many would consider obstacles. When I was elementary age, my father was laid-off. My Mom had to go back to work, two kids in public school, and my Father went back to school for retraining at the age of 40. That does not sound so bad in the context of 2014, but this was 1971 and it was a whole different world then. Having lived through similar times in my adult life, I have a keen appreciation for what my parents must have gone through. I doubt they would have seen themselves on the cutting edge of a revolution in modern family living. They were too preoccupied with paying the mortgage, keeping the lights on, feeding and clothing themselves and their children.
The one thing my folks did an outstanding job of was celebrating. They were children of The Great Depression. They had “gone without” before. That lack did not stop them from celebrating. They taught my sister and I that you didn’t need a lot of trappings and things to be festive. They taught us that being joyous was a gift: a gift to one’s self, a gift worth sharing.
This morning, I walked into the kitchen, kissed my Mom on the forehead and said, "Thank you."
"What for?" was her early morning reply.
"For having me," was my smiling response.
So, yes: Happy Birthday! I am alive! I am not going to sit somewhere meekly and just hope someone notices. I am going to share my joy with whoever wants to join me. If you are not among those people, great! Have a good day. As for the rest of you emotionally unencumbered, generous souls, “wanna piece of my cake?”
(c) 2014 by Judith Cullen