Love it or hate it: Birthdays

by Patty Templeton

Love itFresh starts make me smile. Could be a blank notebook, the first day of a new month, a recently uncluttered desk, or roaring into the wild beyond on an open road at twilight. I love wide-open space. I love possibility. I love Big Dreams and Making Plans. My birthday, even more than New Year’s Eve, is the day where I decide if an idea is conceivable, it is achievable.

A birthday tradition of mine, stolen from a lovely pal named ShawnaBana, is writing a list of manageable but epic goals. This year, its name will be “35 While 35.” Yes, kiddos, I am turning 35 on 11/5 and, awesomely, I am damn near where I want to be as a human in her mid-30s.

What goes on the list? This year, it’ll include:

Make time to read that Son House biography.

Finish your GD short story collection draft.

Have a themed dinner party on a full moon with at least two guests.

Onward and so on, until there’s an outline of 35 somewhat reasonable goals. If I don’t attain all of them, eh, so what? Some movement is better than none.

Oddly enough, for someone who loves her birthday so much, I rarely have a party for it.

— Patty TempletonHate itI blame my disdain of birthdays on social media.

On Facebook, my birthday is set to Jan. 1. My real birthday is April 18, and after years of getting generic “Happy Birthdays” from my Facebook friends – some who actually knew it was my birthday, but most from people saying “Happy Birthday” only because Facebook told them it was my birthday, I decided to make some changes. For years, on April 17, I would set my birthday to April 16, hence, no one would get a reminder that it was my birthday on April 18. Anyone wishing me happy birthday on April 18 had to have known before.

When Facebook told me I could only change my birthday a limited number of times going forward, I changed it to Jan. 1. I still get “Happy Birthdays” on Jan. 1, but I’d rather get fake birthday wishes on my fake birthday than fake birthday wishes on my real birthday.

For me, big birthday bashes are appropriate for children. I’m all for meeting up with friends and family and having a toast to life. Let’s just leave the superficiality out of it.

David Holub


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