“Make a fine big birthday cake, and surround it with candles. Nothing is nicer for a birthday.” –The Magic of Oz, L. Frank Baum

On this day last year, I woke up to a beautiful blanket of snow everywhere and with the greatest feeling of contentment I’ve ever had. It was a Sunday, it was my eighteenth birthday and it was the best weekend of my life. It was truly the most perfect weekend. I had a snow day on Friday, I spent the last hours of being seventeen in the park roasting hot dogs and marshmallows in the snow and I spent my birthday with my family and my friends. Absolutely perfect.

Today, it is one year later. I am one year older. It’s 65 degrees outside, a lovely sort of weather. I’m hundreds of miles away from my family, but still surrounded by good friends. My parents called me at 3:31 EST and sang Happy Birthday to me. I had Lucky Charms for breakfast and at my birthday party on Saturday, Liz gave me a My Little Pony. I am happy. I am content. I don’t know if I’ll achieve that wonderful feeling of last year but I know it’s a good day.

I love birthdays. I love my own, of course, but I also like celebrating birthdays of others. It’s just a whole day of celebration of self. You get to celebrate everything you love about yourself. As Menchem Mendel Schneerson (whoever he may be) said, “Because time itself is like a spiral, something special happens on your birthday each year:  The same energy that God invested in you at birth is present once again.” That’s what I love so much about birthdays. It’s the start of another year, another adventure, another journey to find out more about yourself.

I also love thinking that every day is a birthday for somebody. Today is my birthday, but I share my birthday with Barbie, Bobby Fischer, Yuri Gagarin, a couple girls I went to high school with, Juliette Binoche, Amerigo Vespucci and thousands of other people around the world.  Today is my day, their day, our day, but tomorrow, it will be someone else’s day. I’ll have my second day of being nineteen and so will someone else, but tomorrow someone will have their first day of life, their first day of being two-digits, their first day of being a teenager. Someone will turn 21, someone will turn 40, someone else will be 82. Every single day of the year is a birthday.

Every year, I like to start with a goal, a question, something to follow throughout the year. Last year, it was embodied by the song “New Soul” by Yael Naïm. This year, it’s a quotation by Mary Oliver: “What do you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” I’m not sure where this question will take me, but I know it’s going to be a remarkable adventure.

I read my horoscope for fun and this is what it said for today: “This year you take on the kind of challenges that will sculpt your character in noble ways. By the end of March you are already more independent and confident. You don’t mind being the object of romantic affection in April, though a career passion leaves you less time for your personal life. August brings a windfall. Taurus and Cancer adore you. Your lucky numbers are 40, 1, 33, 19 and 4.”

I think one of my favorite parts is that my lucky number is 19. It just seems to be rather auspicious.

It’s so different to have a birthday in a different state. For one thing, I was awakened by roosters crowing. That has never happened to me in Derby City. Also, there are azaleas blooming here. I really miss the daffodils. They are one of my favorite flowers, and the way my parents tell it, they started to bloom the day I was born. But I did get a box of nineteen different things from my parents. The box was almost bigger than me. But as Lewis Carroll said, “There are three hundred and sixty-four days when you might get un-birthday presents … and only one for birthday presents, you know.” All in all, it was a pretty marvelous day. I’m so glad and lucky I got to live it!

Tomorrow is the first day of the rest of my life and it’s someone else’s birthday. I wish them all the happiness in the world! After all, “A birthday is just the first day of another 365-day journey around the sun.” I’m going to enjoy the trip. I hope you do too!

Happy Birthday and UnBirthday to you!

–S.

“All the world is birthday cake, so take a piece, but not too much.”
— George Harrison

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