Who doesn’t take stock of life’s antics on one’s birthday? Sure, you pretend this insignificant, utterly forgettable birthday is insignificant and forgettable enough to stop the reflective thoughts as they creep up over your morning coffee and spill forth with the force of a rogue wave by happy hour. Thus, if the thoughts are there, they must be heard.
To wit for this gal, a birthday reflection itinerary:
Night before birthday–Dinner out with my great guy at a Brazilian steakhouse, which I love because I can eat so much of the food at these places. We are in a food coma within an hour and must go home and recline on the couch to watch reruns of Cheers. Reflective birthday thoughts: Wow, am I full. Wow, am I glad I no longer have to wake up at 5 a.m. to go to work. Wow, Cheers is still very funny.
Birthday morning–RG Daughter calls, just to chat, and then realizes today, not tomorrow, is my birthday. RG Son and I had talked the night before, and I told him that counted as the birthday call. I call an old friend with whom I share a birthday and age, and laughingly tell her we need to agree on yet another new age, say 34; and then we seriously agree that we are simply thankful to be any age today. Reflective birthday thoughts: I will always be a “bratty kid” in the eyes and heart of my aunt, who is like my mother, as she reminds me every birthday.
Birthday Night–My great guy is working, so I insist that my former manager at “Eggs in Hell” join me to see Eric Burden of the Animals fame at Hard Rock. “You’re the only one old enough around here besides me to remember any of their hits,” I tell her. I have never had social time with my former manager, but we have unexpected fun on my birthday, singing and dancing to “We Gotta Get Out of This Place” and all the rest. Reflective birthday thoughts: My former manager is pretty cool now that she’s not my manager, and I hope a friendship continues to flourish.
Later on the Birthday Night–While killing time before my great guy gets off work, I win an $834.00 bonus on a 60-cent bet at a dumb slot machine I never play. I frantically press the “cash-out” button on the flashing thing so no one notices. “I played that machine right before you and didn’t win a damn thing,” says a woman sitting two machines down from me. Reflective birthday thoughts: Now, if I could just figure out a way to win even half that amount every week, I could supplement my income quite nicely. Right. That’s why I get weekly offers for free concert tickets and logo mugs and umbrellas.
Ever Since My Birthday—
Customers of my great October-birthday-too guy invite us on a 50th birthday dinner cruise aboard a beautiful private yacht, complete with live music and crazy colored flashing drink glasses. My great guy and I poach a few minutes of the extravaganza to quietly toast our own birthdays and just about everything else to each other on this fun, fun night off together.
Despite an ongoing learning curve, I continue to make more money in three days at my new evening job than I ever did in six (often 9 or 10 in a row) mornings at the fine-dining egg house. And I get to wear a cotton T-shirt as opposed to a polyester Nehru-jacket-like billowing mess that felt great when the August heat index topped 102 and I had $18 to show for a 7-hour shift. Although I have to pick up extra shifts and catering gigs to dig myself out of the financial hell hole I fell into slinging those expensive eggs for eight months, I am no longer exhausted 24/7 as a result of having to wake up at 5 a.m. every damn day.
Birthday reflective thoughts: I have been breathing a sigh of relief ever since my birthday. It feels decidedly good.