I’ve spent the last several years ignoring my birthday. It comes and goes; nothing special about the day; remembered by family and a few long time friends. Then last year I started getting all these notices as friends on Facebook took the time to send me good wishes. And I thought I was the only one who’s first task was sending out birthday wishes. I was gratified and surprised.
This year I had casually talked with friends about going to dinner and sharing photos from my trip. Instead, a camping trip was proposed; complete with suggestions of planned activities geared toward my likes. Seriously? Someone thinking about what might make me happy? It jolted me out of my complacency. Somewhere I had picked up the notion that when you reach middle age, your birthday doesn’t or shouldn’t mean anything. As though it was childish to want people to remember and celebrate your special day. Once you reach 90, though, it appears to be ok to celebrate again.
I embraced the notion, thinking “Cool, this will be fun!” And it was. I put my talent to work moving the storm clouds around to the north and south so that it only rained when we were under cover or inside. Outdoor activities were blessed with sunshine or just a light rain that actually made hiking more comfortable. Everything was lush and green; deer, owls, gators, turtles, hawks and osprey went about their business with little concern for watching humans.
An afternoon shower cleared by sunset so the bats came out as scheduled. Once I heard about the colony, I was very anxious to be able to see it. And what a sight it was. I’ve always been fascinated by bats but have only ever spotted one or two flitting around eating bugs. To see upwards of 100,000 emerge; first one then two or three and then a veritable stream pouring across the across the edge of the trees, silhouetted against the fading light, swooping after insects and spreading out as they moved across the lake; was a sight to behold. It was better than birthday candles on a cake and much less fattening. A major cloudburst at the baseball game but everyone got under cover and afterwards the sun came out and the game went on, although it changed from a pitching duel to a hitting duel keeping us on the edge of our seats.
And then there was a veritable flood of cheerful birthday wishes. When I turned my phone on in the morning I was started by a burst of pings that signaled notices. I couldn’t figure it out and then it hit me “people are wishing me a happy birthday”. Throughout the day, hearing the ping that heralded another one made me smile, and send thankful thoughts to friends and family.
I return home with my soul refreshed and at peace; thankful for friends that think birthdays are special regardless of your age and everyone deserves a treat on their day.