I suppose nothing says you were meant to be here quite like being born on a holiday. Some people like to make huge deals about turning another year older but what if that huge deal has already been made for you or more specifically is expected of you? I was born on the third most commercially successful holiday, Valentines day. And to make that day even more sticky, plastic, sweet and even less significant for me personally, on my 4th birthday my mom married my stepdad. When I was a kid, I sort of dreaded birthdays. I was super grateful for my mom and pops new found love but often felt lost amidst both celebrations. I thought, "what am I celebrating exactly?" but I ate cake and opened presents just the same. As I got older and realized just how dope my parents were, we began taking this tandem celebration to maturer levels. My mother knows how to throw a good party and from my 15th birthday onward It became tradition to rent two massive suites at the Chevy Chase Pavilion and have a good old fashioned "stay-cation" amidst DC's best in fine dining and luxury shopping. I got spoiled rotten and so did my so called friends who always seemed to come around just in time for a good party. Once I moved to baltimore it seemed there was much less reason to celebrate. With classes and such, I found it increasingly difficult to make it home in time for one of moms classy throw downs. I thought it a great birthday if I could splurge on a good single malt and had a good looking so and so to share it with. Ever the romantic, I still never asked for much. I knew no one could celebrate me the way the fam could, but god knows how I tried.
As the years go by, traditions get lost and we resort to different ways of commemorating another trip around the sun. For some, each trip gets a little lonelier We get older and hopefully just as wise and depending on who you are and what your journey entails, you find that sharing a table with a consistent few is far greater than raising a glass with a sporadic many. I've done both, I have given thanks for another year in many ways but none more greater than the moments that I am able to recognize the real magnitude of times passing. I used to subscribe to the whole commercialized romance business, fully believing in a cupid of sorts who would make significant some incredible person just in time for me to blow out the candles on yet another birthday cake. -As if one instance had anything to do with the other simply because I broke through the placenta on Valentines day. Or if, by chance, I do not indulge in the pursuit of a romantic relationship, may I be so lucky as to have by my side a few true companions who make the deepening of laugh lines seem all the more with it. Its difficult enough just knowing that time is a gift not granted to many. There just never seems to be enough of it so why spend it haunted by your ideas of what it should look like. Time, that thing that we take for granted then complain about when it doesn't bend in our favor.
I have fathomed many a glamorous scenario where getting older looks its most fabulous, where I sat at the head of a table assembled on the anniversary of my birth and didn't have to question the genuineness of each guest in attendance. I have been the Carrie Bradshaw sitting alone at her birthday dinner wearing her best shit waiting for said guests to arrive only to end up hailing a cab in good shoes with your birthday cake in tow. Truth is, a birthday is just that, a date of birth. There is no guaranteed reason to gather or toast. No one is obligated to celebrate you and remind you, like a child, that you are special or necessary. And now on the eve of my 29th year, I have completely abandoned all my sophomoric expectations. My beloved family still salutes me but what about my adult self and the relationships I have managed since? On the bright side, once I stopped hunting for love, love found its way to me and for that I am grateful. Long gone are the days of desperate nightclub navigating for the next short lived happily ever after hours. I am pleased to report that soul mates do exist and they stick around even after the lights come on. For whatever reason, I cannot say the same for my platonic affairs. When you and your mate are both performers, it isn't unlikely to miss holidays and special events due to scheduling conflicts and such.
These are the times when your best girlfriends and "good Judy's" really come in hand. But while living amidst such a throwaway culture its hard to keep the same faces around for a whole 12 months. As an adult, entertaining fair weather friends isn't an option even if thats all you have to choose from. These days I am seldom more than a party of two. Its an acquired taste for an outgoing person such as myself but its cleaner and more secure.
Valentines baby or not, these days I now look forward to the simple pleasures that come along with growing older like having better taste in time well spent, like having high standards and lowered, more realistic expectations, like having amazing sex with the same amazing partner over and over again until and after your dinner reservations have expired, like forehead kisses and coffee made just the way you like it, like whiskey and wine club subscriptions brought right to your doorstep through all that is good with the internet and alas. that really expensive thing your mom knew you wanted but knew you couldn't afford for yourself on your freelance photographers income… -Okay, those may not be the simplest pleasures but they require very little investment in man and their ability to let you down on your day. All Im saying is, celebrate your charisma, your uniqueness, your nerve and your talent the best way you know how. Dont hold out waiting for anyone else to raise a glass in your honor, I used to think there was nothing sadder than having to plan your own birthday party until I loved someone who didn't live to see their next. Next years are not promised to any of us so dont spend them any other way than sure and abundantly grateful.