Friday, April 8, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me!

My birthday celebration kicked off around 2:30 this morning. Anyway, I'm pretty sure inconsolable crying is how a 15-month-old says "happy birthday." Then I said happy birthday to myself by getting up around 5:15 to do yoga. I know that might not sound that great to some of you, but for me it was a pretty good way to kick off the day.

The yoga was part of a 90-day workout and diet program that I'm currently 4 days into. I turned 34 today, and why shouldn't this be the year that I get more fit than I've ever been before? For good measure (actually, for entirely different reasons), I worked out again at the end of the day. Why not?

For the most part, it was a pretty normal day. Over the past few days, some cards have trickled in, and Lauren baked a cake yesterday, complete with trick candles that won't stay out. The cake was marvelously amazing (maple with maple butter cream icing!), though I limited myself to just a little bit. Today was mostly another day at the office, though, passing largely unacknowledged as anything other than an ordinary day.

Except, that is, in the so-called "virtual" world. On Facebook, over 80 people wished me a happy birthday, some as simply as that and some with a shared memory or a bit of wit thrown in. Then there were e-mails as well--it's a virtual big deal. Facebook does the work of reminding everyone you know that it's your birthday, and some fraction of them take that bit of time necessary to say a few words. It's easier than a birthday card, but shows the same thing, that someone is thinking of you, is wishing you well, on this day commemorating your arrival on the scene. It's nice. I'd like to make some time to respond individually to everyone who wished me a happy birthday, but we'll have to wait and see how that plan goes. It was just so wonderful to see all those years of my life converging--friends from before I started school, elementary school, high school, college, grad school, my first teaching job, my second teaching job, my current teaching job, people I've met on-line, and people whose relationship with me defies these easy categories, and of course family, some of whom can remember when I was born and some of whom have only more recently become family: all those years of shared experience with all those people swirled around a single day. It's a kind of magic.

After work invitation was issued for dinner out and so we shared a meal with some friends of ours. It was nice--the food was excellent and yet fit into my diet (except the sliver of cake, which was not only excellent but had to be shoe-horned a bit into the plan!), and we had a nice time out. On the spur of the moment, our one friend took the crayon that one of her children had received for drawing, and sketched me. She was disappointed in the end result, but it looks roughly 1,000,000 times more like me than anything I could draw even looks like an actual person. Anyway, what was neat about it was just that she did it, and to hear her running commentary as she noticed this or that feature of my head or face. There's just something interesting about being noticed with that kind of scrutiny. All things considered--the conditions, the media, short time in which she worked--the sketch is amazing, and I would challenge anyone to do better with one lousy crayon.

One of those many messages I received wished me "love, happiness, and good health," which would be a great achievement, no? As I think about it, I'm not entirely sure whether those are things that I need to have, to accept, to give, or if the key is some combination of those verbs. I rather suspect that's the way of it, especially the acceptance and the giving. If I can manage that, 34 should be a very good year indeed. Thank you to all the people who have brought me love and happiness today!


  1. I think the verb was "be" in the sense of may all these things be, be yours, be your family's, be your world's. As a blessing, I guess.

  2. Yes, that did seem to be your original implication. I was just thinking about it in terms of "how does one get there, other than just hoping or being blessed?" And it seemed to me that it's important to be open to all of those things when life presents them--it's very easy to get caught up in all the stresses and challenges of life and fail to appreciate what's right there--and to give love, and happiness (to the extent it can be given, since it also needs to be chosen and accepted by the other person), and even health, whether through good and healthy cooking, advice, or helping to foster a lifestyle for those around you. And by giving those things, one's own life is made more wonderful, and--I suspect!--the love, happiness, and health in one's own life is multiplied.