Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A birthday conversation

Okay, so I am having a little trouble wrapping my brain around the number of years my imminent birthday is celebrating. It's not a Big Round Number, but I am ever so slightly freaked out, which doesn't happen to me much, though the last two birthdays have held more of this omigodde feeling than the previous umpteen ones.

So let's have some fun with this, and let me ask you all:

What was the hardest age for you to reach?

What was your best birthday? (So far. You have some other good ones ahead, G*d willing.)

What was the most difficult birthday you've ever had? Why?

What is your favorite thing to do (or not to do) on your birthday?

What is your favorite thing about birthdays?

Do the approach and day of your birthday evoke particular memories? Smells? Tastes? Feelings?

Birthdays: love 'em, hate 'em, ignore 'em? None of the above?

How do you feel about age and aging?

How (if at all) does your congregation (or spiritual circle, or whatever your community of meaning and celebration is) celebrate or honor its members' birthdays?

What did your family do about birthdays when you were growing up?

Do you have "mortality moments" on your birthday? Do you invariably feel grateful? Both? Neither?

Do you tell people your age? Why or why not?

Do you take the day off on your birthdays? Why or why not?

If you do, what do you do (or not do)?

Have you ever spent a birthday alone? Do you prefer spending your birthday alone?

Do you broadcast your birthday or prefer not to mention it?

Do you have particular rituals on your birthday?

What do you think of birthday parties?

What do you think of surprise parties?

At what time of year were you born? How has this affected your birthdays?

What is (are) your culture(s) of origin? How do you think this affects your attitude toward birthdays?

How does the culture in which you now live affect your birthday and your attitude toward birthdays?

Does your religious or spiritual practice affect your birthday practice(s) and your attitude towards birthdays?

Do you feel differently about other people's birthdays and your own?

Do you have trouble remembering your loved ones' birthdays? Do you keep a birthday book?

Tell the truth now: do you celebrate your pets' birthdays?

I suppose I should ask what your favorite birthday present has been, but that is an afterthought. I don't think I've ever really remembered specific birthday presents as much as I have where I was or with whom I was or what I did. Or what I ate. But that may be me.

I do remember and treasure a few specific birthday presents - e.g. I still have the present my best friend from college gave me on my 20th birthday and I have a few noteworthy birthday memories, not all of which are suitable for a family blog.

The strawberries up there are because when I was growing up we would always have the first strawberries of the year on my birthday.

Feel free to ask your own questions about the birthday thang, too.

Use the "Comments" section below. Answer any or all of the above, as you please.

As MadPriest would say: Off you go, then.


P.S. I'm turning 57. Tomorrow. Pretty nondescript, except for the fact that it is the only time I will ever turn 57 on 5/7. And of course people have already started making Heinz 57 Varieties jokes. Which doesn't really go very far with someone like me who likes homemade salad dressing and doesn't like or eat hot dogs. Not that ketchup isn't sometimes necessary.

19 comments:

Kirkepiscatoid said...

Hmmmm. This is a little long for a "comment" but ok...


What was the hardest age for you to reach?

39

What was your best birthday? (So far. You have some other good ones ahead, G*d willing.)

It was this year when I got a "special intention" Mass on my birthday. I never got a Eucharist for a present before!

What was the most difficult birthday you've ever had? Why?

2005. My birthday was on Easter. But the 26 year old pony I was keeping for someone was stone cold dead, hooves up, in the pasture when I woke up. I always wanted a pony for my BD but not a dead one! I stood out there and said, "Well, hell. Jesus rose from the dead, and this damn pony ain't goin' nowhere!"

What is your favorite thing to do (or not to do) on your birthday?

Nothing in particular.

What is your favorite thing about birthdays?

Nowadays, it's getting all the Facebook birthday wishes.

Do the approach and day of your birthday evoke particular memories? Smells? Tastes? Feelings?

Nah, not really. I'm kind of "blah-zey" about 'em.

Birthdays: love 'em, hate 'em, ignore 'em? None of the above?

Mostly indifferent.

How do you feel about age and aging?

So far I'm pretty ok with it but I'm only 49.

How (if at all) does your congregation (or spiritual circle, or whatever your community of meaning and celebration is) celebrate or honor its members' birthdays?

We have a parish directory so people know them. If they happen to be on a Sunday, they are noted.

What did your family do about birthdays when you were growing up?

Depended. I never liked birthday parties. They were more about my mom trying to entertain like she was June Cleaver than they were about me.

Do you have "mortality moments" on your birthday? Do you invariably feel grateful? Both? Neither?

All of the above.

Do you tell people your age? Why or why not?

Sure. Who cares? It beats being dead.

Do you take the day off on your birthdays? Why or why not?

Sometimes. I like it, but I can't always do it b/c of my work.

If you do, what do you do (or not do)?

Something just for me, by myself.

Have you ever spent a birthday alone? Do you prefer spending your birthday alone?

Most of the time. I'm good with it.

Do you broadcast your birthday or prefer not to mention it?

I like to gig a couple of my friends about it but that is about it.

Do you have particular rituals on your birthday?

No.

What do you think of birthday parties?

See above.

What do you think of surprise parties?

UGH

At what time of year were you born? How has this affected your birthdays?

March 27. I don't like the fact it often falls on Holy Week.

What is (are) your culture(s) of origin? How do you think this affects your attitude toward birthdays?

Native rural Missourian. I don't think it affects me much one way or the other.

How does the culture in which you now live affect your birthday and your attitude toward birthdays?

Probably people expect you to go out and get drunk and party, but I'm not much of a blotto partier. I like having a drink or a toast on my birthday but I'm not into the big party (although I DID host a big party for my 39th.)

Does your religious or spiritual practice affect your birthday practice(s) and your attitude towards birthdays?

Not really.

Do you feel differently about other people's birthdays and your own?

I make a bigger deal over other's birthdays than mine.

Do you have trouble remembering your loved ones' birthdays?

No. See below.

Do you keep a birthday book?

Computer file.

Tell the truth now: do you celebrate your pets' birthdays?

Yes, but since they are pound dogs, I don't really know their real birth dates. I assign them ones. Eddie's is on Groundhog Day (because he digs) and Boomer's is on Flag Day (because he waves his tail like a flag.)

clumber said...

57?

Fifty Seven?

Fifty frikken seven?

Some of my choke collars older than you!

A blessed and joyful birthday to you! What'd +Maya get you for a birthday present?

Jane R said...

Kirke, fabulous. I bet you'll get lots of comments on your comment. Thank you.

I'll allow myself to comment once I have finished reading the fricking stack of papers.

+Clumber (you may be retired but a bishop is a bishop so the little + stays) - that is exactly what I was thinking about 57. Fortunately my brother is nearly 10 years older than I so I get to tease him about being an old man no matter what birthday we happen to be hitting. Of course, that also means I remain the kid sister forever.

+Maya has not yet given me anything, but it's still May 6, so she has all day and evening tomorrow. I'm hoping for a green light saber (see my "you are Yoda" update / quiz anwer on Facebook).

Padre Rob+ said...

Blessings on your birthday, and in the coming year, Jane! I hope you have had a wonderful day (even though the weather is so terrible there tonight).

For the last 2 birthdays, I have driven down to S. Maryland, and Zac and I have gone to dinner and then have eaten ice cream while walking along the boardwalk in Solomon's Island- then we find a bench, sit and chat and watch the sun set. Those are my favorite moments.

Caminante said...

What was the hardest age for you to reach? 30 because I felt as though I had accomplished nothing and was just spinning my wheels.

What was your best birthday? 40th because by then I had gotten my Ph.D., ordained, become rector of a parish and celebrated it with a bunch of friends.

What was the most difficult birthday you've ever had? 2004. Why? Because many of the friends who were present for my 40th had drifted away and the most important one had died.

What is your favorite thing to do (or not to do) on your birthday? I love it when my birthday lands on a Sunday because then we have the Eucharist on that day (now where I am, it's also Wednesday and Thursday).

What is your favorite thing about birthdays? It used to be feeling special. Nowadays, I am not sure I have a favourite thing.

Do the approach and day of your birthday evoke particular memories? Yes. Smells? Probably. Tastes? Mocha Sponge cake!!!! Feelings? Usually a sense of melancholy.

Birthdays: love 'em, hate 'em, ignore 'em? These days, let it pass quietly.

How do you feel about age and aging? It's part of life and I have worked hard to make it to every year. WYSIWYG.

How (if at all) does your congregation (or spiritual circle, or whatever your community of meaning and celebration is) celebrate or honor its members' birthdays? First Sunday of the month we have birthday, anniversary and special day blessings. Each person who comes forward gets a hands-on blessing.

What did your family do about birthdays when you were growing up? They were a BIG deal. My mother and father put together some wonderful parties (I am thinking of 4th-6th grade).

Do you have "mortality moments" on your birthday? When I hit 50 I figured that by the next decade (60) I might well no longer have either parent around. So far, so good but I do wonder. Do you invariably feel grateful? Yes.

Do you tell people your age? Yes. Why or why not? See above. What's the secret? My late aunt never even told her children her birth year and it is not on her grave stone which I think is utterly ridiculous.

Do you take the day off on your birthdays? No. Why or why not? Life goes on.

If you do, what do you do (or not do)?

Have you ever spent a birthday alone? Yes. Do you prefer spending your birthday alone? If it happens, I am not wrought.

Do you broadcast your birthday or prefer not to mention it? I don't broadcast it but with a parish calendar that has everyone's birthdays it is hard to be totally quiet especially when one is the priest.

Do you have particular rituals on your birthday? I start out by playing The Association's Birthday Morning and then it's on with the day.

What do you think of birthday parties? Nowadays, not. Just give me a nice dinner at home.

What do you think of surprise parties? Not.

At what time of year were you born? May!!! How has this affected your birthdays? I love springtime with everything opening up. Growing up in Connecticut, the lily of the valley were out. Up here in Vermont, it's the daffodils. And this year my birthday is on Mother's Day as it has been before (I was born on a Friday though).

What is (are) your culture(s) of origin? WASP but with a very matriarchal family system. How do you think this affects your attitude toward birthdays? I don't want to be the centre of attention the way my grandmother was and mother is.

How does the culture in which you now live affect your birthday and your attitude toward birthdays? Vermont is quiet so it's played down.

Does your religious or spiritual practice affect your birthday practice(s) and your attitude towards birthdays? I light a candle, give thanks to God for another year and know that if I were to die tomorrow, I'd be OK.

Do you feel differently about other people's birthdays and your own? I love getting gifts for other people and surprising them. I love celebrating their birthdays and telling them they are special to us.

Do you have trouble remembering your loved ones' birthdays? No, I have a garbage can memory for that sort of date. Do you keep a birthday book? Don't need to.

Tell the truth now: do you celebrate your pets' birthdays? Absolutely. The best I can do is the day I adopted them but I consider that their birthday.

Ken said...

Old comment from The Who:

"I hope I die before I get old."

Tough shit. I got old first.

Jane, you are freakin' jailbait.

Hardest age? Mine, 65. Only the damn Medicare cards and supplemental plans convinced me I'm really an old fart. I hate it. There's no smiley there.

Best birthday: 40. My now ex-wife threw a surprise party for me and I was really surprised. Ou sont les neiges d'antan?

A birthday Mass is lovely. I associate Mass cards with someone croaking. It's nice when someone associates a Mass with life instead of a wake.

Most difficult was 50. I was on the edge of divorce and could not get to sleep unless I was shitfaced.

Sorry, but the dead pony story is hysterically funny.

Favorite thing not to do. Go to to work or not work depending on whether I'm doing the opposite at the time.

Favorite thing about birthdays?--lying about my age as long as I have a 20-gallong jug of Just For Men handy.

If anyone at St. George's paid attention to my birthday I'd go hide.

I tell my age to my undergraduate girls. I am not unattractive for my age and modesty is only vanity in reverse. Save us from the time of trial, etc., etc.

My birthday is February 23. I'm 363 days younger than George Harrison. This proves nothing except that George had more talent and lousier genes.

PseudoPiskie said...

What was the hardest age for you to reach? 70 in 2010 may be. Otherwise I've made all 68 so far.What was your best birthday? Probably the year I was on the staff at the Berkshire Choral Festival and they gave me a party and cake. May have been 49 or 50.What was the most difficult birthday you've ever had? Why? Probably the first one I spent alone and didn't talk to or see anyone all day or night. Don't remember when it was.What is your favorite thing to do (or not to do) on your birthday? I don't care about birthdays.What is your favorite thing about birthdays? Hopefully getting stuff I won't buy for myself from family.Do the approach and day of your birthday evoke particular memories? Smells? Tastes? Feelings? No. No. No. Sometimes loneliness.Birthdays: love 'em, hate 'em, ignore 'em? None of the above? Ignore themHow do you feel about age and aging? Inevitable. I probably don't care to live as long as I my genes indicate I should.How (if at all) does your congregation (or spiritual circle, or whatever your community of meaning and celebration is) celebrate or honor its members' birthdays? We have a birthday cake at coffee hour once a month. Not worth much IMO.What did your family do about birthdays when you were growing up? I remember a few parties because I have photos.Do you have "mortality moments" on your birthday? Do you invariably feel grateful? Both? Neither? Nah. I'm grateful for my guardian angel's amazing care but don't care about living or dying. I just live. Do you tell people your age? Why or why not? I'm 68. So? Anyone can find out.Do you take the day off on your birthdays? Why or why not? No. Just another day.Have you ever spent a birthday alone? Do you prefer spending your birthday alone? Yes fairly frequently. I'm used to it.Do you broadcast your birthday or prefer not to mention it? If there is a reason I will tell it otherwise I don't.Do you have particular rituals on your birthday? No What do you think of birthday parties? There are several of us at church who have birthdays within a week of each other so we usually get together on the 4th of July to celebrate. It's ok.What do you think of surprise parties? Fun to give them.At what time of year were you born? How has this affected your birthdays? Always glad for a July birthday. Spreads out the gifts.What is (are) your culture(s) of origin? How do you think this affects your attitude toward birthdays? Genuine middle class Heinz. Doesn't.How does the culture in which you now live affect your birthday and your attitude toward birthdays? Doesn'tDoes your religious or spiritual practice affect your birthday practice(s) and your attitude towards birthdays? NopeDo you feel differently about other people's birthdays and your own? I try to remember family ones because they are important to them. I'm not good at it tho I used to be.Do you have trouble remembering your loved ones' birthdays? Yes Do you keep a birthday book? NO. Wouldn't remember to look at it or update it.Tell the truth now: do you celebrate your pets' birthdays? Nope.

janinsanfran said...

Dear Jane -- you're a spring chicken! (Whatever that means...) But Happy Birthday.

I'm fried with work for General Convention (which has only margin relevance to G'D) and will have one of those birthdays I pay as little attention to as possible in the midst of the festivities.

Enjoy your day if you can.

JodiDiva said...

I'll answer a few...

Hardest age? Forty. It was a very bleak year generally and I really felt that my continued existence had no purpose; but of course it did and does. Still...a toughie. Sixty's coming up in December and I'm not ready. That's gonna be rough.

On the day itself, I generally don't do much. Mid-December is a flurry of year-end work, and Christmas preparation, and everyone says, "We'll go out sometime when we're not all so busy" which of course doesn't happen but I always pretend it will. My parents are still alive so I have dinner with them.

My congregation honors seniors (members celebrating 80 years or more) with special prayers on their birthday; everyone else gets prayed for by name on their baptism anniversary.

I generally tell folks my age because I still enjoy the look of incredulity I get back.

I hate surprise parties. The best surprise party I ever had, though, was at Oberlin when I turned 21. A few close friends had suggested we go out for dinner even though it was the middle of exams & such, and when we got to the Rathskeller there were a couple of huge tables filled with friends all wishing me happy birthday. It was great because 1) I wasn't planning on doing something else, like vegging in a closet, so I was already dressed up, and 2) it made a festive evening just that more bright.

As a Christian I know I thank God for my years and continued health but I also have the sin of fearfulness of the future. On the other hand, if we were perfect already, we wouldn't need salvation, or communities of believers.

Anyway, all the best! I hope you can enjoy some strawberries on your special day. Joanne

johnieb said...

Happy birthday, Jane!

The hardest one? 28.

The best one? The next one.

I haven't made much fuss as an adult; we threw a party for my
40th, but there was much too much in the rest of life that year to be impressed. Now I usually have a nice meal: sometimes alone, sometimes not.

The biggest deal? I thought 16 and 21 at the time; now, given the requirement at the time to register with Selective Service, probably 18.

Now here's a word verification: hotsi; eat yer hearts out!

Lindy said...

OK. I am going to answer some and skip some:

What was your best birthday? (So far.) Forty was good for me.
What was the most difficult birthday you've ever had? Why? Hands down, it was thirty. So bad I won't even tell you...
Birthdays: love 'em, hate 'em, ignore 'em? None of the above? I hate them. Birthdays piss me off. They are so militant and unyielding, marching 'round every 365 days. I hate their insistence that I be the age they say I am. Is there no room for compromise? Honestly,it's like dealing with The Borg.
How do you feel about age and aging? I am not a fan of aging. I feel like I should be at least ten years younger than I am, and I think I could make a case for even more. There are several years for which I feel I should get a do-over. Really, some years just shouldn't count.
Do you tell people your age? Why or why not? I lie shamelessly about my age. I usually tell people that I am 36, and I can pass for that. Actual age? 46.
Do you take the day off on your birthdays? Why or why not? I do but I don't tell anyone. I often go off by myself.
I don't think I've ever spent a birthday totally alone. If I have I probably did it on purpose and enjoyed it.
Do you broadcast your birthday or prefer not to mention it? OK. Truth? I don't tell anyone but I like it if they remember. I know... it's crazy. January 29 if you want to put it on your calendar. Same as Oprah.
Do you feel differently about other people's birthdays and your own? Yes. I am surprisingly attentive and tender with my friends on their birthdays. I like to take them to their favorite place for a nice meal and we talk about their hopes for the next year and all the things they've accomplished. -- For me, just send a card, even better if there's a wad of cash in it, and leave me alone for the day.
Tell the truth now: do you celebrate your pets' birthdays? I do celebrate Rowan's adoption day. February 11, if you're keeping track. I usually have friends over and he barks at them and gets petted.
I suppose I should ask what your favorite birthday present has been, but that is an afterthought. A friend wrote an icon for me a few years ago. It's the most amazing thing I've ever received,

Happy Birthday Jane. And don't freak out, it's just a number. You don't have to accept it. Reject the tyranny of time! Be whatever age you want.

Kirstin said...

What was the hardest age for you to reach?
30. I didn't feel like I was on my path at all, and I looked around at my friends who were.

What was your best birthday? (So far. You have some other good ones ahead, G*d willing.)
For health and spiritual reasons, it will be the next one. But up to now... Friends in my hometown threw me a birthday party, five weeks early, when I moved away for seminary. (My birthday's in September; I left in August.) What I most remember is the organic cheese puffs... in the nicest bowl in the house.

What was the most difficult birthday you've ever had? Why?
30, see above. Or this past one, because I was sick, sore, miserable, and didn't feel like celebrating.

What is your favorite thing to do (or not to do) on your birthday?
Silly! Presents and cake. :-)

What is your favorite thing about birthdays?
The whole idea of celebrating life.

Do the approach and day of your birthday evoke particular memories? Smells? Tastes? Feelings?
Not that I can think of right now. Ask me in September.

Birthdays: love 'em, hate 'em, ignore 'em? None of the above?
Love 'em, mostly. I enjoy other people's at least as much as mine.

How do you feel about age and aging?
I'm 38, so I'm still a baby in this crowd. But I met someone once, while hiking on Mt. Rainier. She was 70 if she was anything. And she was out with a full pack, practicing. I want to be like her.

How (if at all) does your congregation (or spiritual circle, or whatever your community of meaning and celebration is) celebrate or honor its members' birthdays?
We announce the birthdays of the week, at the Prayers of the People. If yours happens to be that Sunday, the musicians play "Happy Birthday" for you during announcements. They think it's a surprise. :-)

What did your family do about birthdays when you were growing up?
Only kid/only maternal grandkid. Birthdays were big. (Okay, the literal answer is, "Got together and ate.")

Do you have "mortality moments" on your birthday? Do you invariably feel grateful? Both? Neither?
Yes to mortality moments, more since my 30s. I'm so grateful for life right now, it's hard to imagine feeling especially so on one day.

Do you tell people your age? Why or why not?
Depends on who they are and why they're asking. People often act shocked that I'm as old as I am. If I want to avoid that reaction, I don't answer.

Have you ever spent a birthday alone? Do you prefer spending your birthday alone?
Not entirely, and no. I like to be social on my birthdays.

Do you broadcast your birthday or prefer not to mention it?
I broadcast it.

Do you have particular rituals on your birthday?
I eat well and I open presents. These days, I get together with my best friend. Ritual is organic to our relationship. So, yes, but it changes.

What do you think of birthday parties?
I enjoy them. Had a surprise party once, and was mixed about that. One is definitely the right number, for that experience.

At what time of year were you born? How has this affected your birthdays?
Mid-September. The calendar still says summer, but the leaves and the school-kids don't. Growing up, I always got school clothes. I've never cared about what I wear, anyway.

Every year, I still feel excited about the newness of things, right around my birthday and the start of school (whether I'm a student then or not).

What is (are) your culture(s) of origin? How do you think this affects your attitude toward birthdays?
Mom's a Southerner; my dad is a Midwestern farm boy. I was raised in Seattle. So it was a tri-polar upbringing, anyway.

How does the culture in which you now live affect your birthday and your attitude toward birthdays?
I live in a seminary fishbowl. I've been sick for a year. People were happy to give me something to smile about, last year.

In a larger sense, I don't have anything to compare it to.

Does your religious or spiritual practice affect your birthday practice(s) and your attitude towards birthdays?
Yes, but I'd have to think about how. In the sense that I'm more incarnational than I've ever been, and more grateful for life, I'm sure they do.

Do you feel differently about other people's birthdays and your own?
I'm not always excited about my own. But I'm happy for my friends when they celebrate being alive.

Do you have trouble remembering your loved ones' birthdays? Do you keep a birthday book?
No. I've always had a head for strange details.

Tell the truth now: do you celebrate your pets' birthdays?
I don't have any pets. My best friend has three cats, all rescues. We're aware of the general seasons, but don't put a candle in their food or anything.

Word verification: "cophona." Make a joyful noise. :-)

David said...

Answers later dear, dear Jane
for now just know that heartfelt thanks were given for your life and ministry this morning in honour of the day.
Know also I'm sending you one great fraternal in the Spirit in honour of the day.
May the 57th year on our Jane be one of wonder, affirmation, blessings and joy
Love you young lady!

David@Montreal

Bryan said...

Wow pretty insightful...Hardest age for me was 30 by far...meant it was time to grow up :P

Ann said...

Happy birthday - 60 was hardest for me -- OMG - I am a 60 year old woman - arrggh!!

Cranmer49 said...

Happy birthday, Jane --- Ann just turned me on to your blogspot and it looks like a keeper for my blog reads. But I'm a little concerned that 60 was hardest for Ann --- that's where I'm going to be in less than a month! And I was just starting make my peace with it...

But have a wonderful birthday doing all of the things that make it good for you!

Song in my Heart said...

[What was the hardest age for you to reach?]

I'm not sure. Getting to 22 and realising that if I'd managed to stay in uni I'd have graduated by then was a bit sad.

[What was your best birthday? (So far. You have some other good ones ahead, G*d willing.)]
This past year was pretty good. There was singing and time outside and good food and the most excellent company. Even the weather was favourable.

[What was the most difficult birthday you've ever had? Why?]

2002 or 2003 was rather tough. My then-boyfriend was not entirely understanding of a strong desire on my part to celebrate my birthday. We'd been to a wedding the day before and the plan was to travel back to his home and have a nice meal out or something. We left nice and early to avoid the worst of crowded trains. There was a big storm that day and when we got to the train station they couldn't put us on a train because of the number of trees on the track and so sent us on a rail replacement bus to Crewe. It was a Sunday. Crewe on a Sunday has nothing open, not even a chippy, other than the sandwich shop in the station. The Transport Police stopped the rail replacement buses running after a tree hit one. We spent at least 10 hours in Crewe before they were able to get trains running. The station was cold, and my shoes were too thin. At one point it looked like we'd be staying the night there. My boyfriend was stressed and grumpy.

Now I try not to travel much on my birthday.

[What is your favorite thing to do (or not to do) on your birthday?]

I like to gather chestnuts in Greenwich Park. It's become sort of traditional.

[What is your favorite thing about birthdays?]

People celebrating being alive, I think.

[Do the approach and day of your birthday evoke particular memories? Smells? Tastes? Feelings?]

I generally remember birthdays past, usually with fondness.

[Birthdays: love 'em, hate 'em, ignore 'em? None of the above?]

Mostly like them. In recent years I've become far less attached to having a celebration on my actual birthday, and far less concerned about whether most people bother to do anything. Presents in particular used to be far more important to me than they are now, though I still like getting them.

[How do you feel about age and aging?]

Yesterday I thought I saw a grey hair in the mirror while I was practising and I was rather disappointed to find it was just a trick of the light. I am impatient to become wiser, I think. Rather silly really!

[How (if at all) does your congregation (or spiritual circle, or whatever your community of meaning and celebration is) celebrate or honor its members' birthdays?]

I'm sort of drifting around trying to find the right lot of heretics for me at the moment. The main contenders seem to do something around 25th December for the birthday of the body they're all part of.

Friends celebrate in a variety of ways but usually involving some sort of party.

[What did your family do about birthdays when you were growing up?]

My dad usually came to visit, I was lucky he was able to do so. A nice meal out was standard and that side of the family were into the big material gifts. My father always asks me what I want for my birthday, and I find it difficult to answer. I've taken to keeping a wishlist so that if people really want to know, they can get something from the list and it will still surprise me.

My mum would bake a cake. She always asked me what kind I wanted and I could never decide so ended up with chocolate and vanilla marble cake with strawberry icing.

[Do you have "mortality moments" on your birthday? Do you invariably feel grateful? Both? Neither?]

Yes, but I have those nearly every day. I'm very aware that I don't get to decide how long I'm here.

I'd like to say I feel grateful to be alive every day but I don't know if it's strictly true, there are days when I might not think about it. But I'm grateful for the life and health I have now compared to a few years ago, grateful for my work and the ability to do it, and grateful for friendship from some truly amazing people. I expect there will be more difficulties in my life, but I'm glad of what I do have.

[Do you tell people your age? Why or why not?]

Yes, generally. But I'll tell them I have 20 years experience of being an 8-year-old, as that's how I feel much of the time.

[Do you take the day off on your birthdays? Why or why not?]

As a performing musician it isn't always an option.

I really need to sleep now but may have a go at the rest of questions tomorrow.

Song in my Heart said...

All that and I did not wish you a happy birthday... oops!

Happy birthday, Jane, and many happy returns.

Word verification is "sings". No joke.

Algernon said...

Happy happy birthday!

I don't think any of my birthdays have been hard to reach. The first big scary one, I suppose, is 40, which is coming soon. But it's anti-climactic: my hair started going grey at 27, I've already got dental problems, and I've already seen friends die. So I'm just enjoying the time I have.

As a child, my parents threw me some wonderful birthday parties. I remember them hiring a professional puppet theatre to set up in our house and do a puppet show for me and all the neighborhood children.

Later, though, birthdays were observed with a dinner out and not much fuss. I don't make much fuss about mine -- Sarah and I might go out to dinner, open up a bottle of the local syrah (which is so very very good).

Of age and aging, I think of the "rental car" analogy. The car gets lots of miles on it and gets beat up and eventually we have to give it back. My body ages -- is there anything else that ages?

My son is a moment-to-moment mortality moment, but an enjoyable one.

I actually have to stop and think about my birthday. My father's birthday, my parents' anniversary, my mother's birthday, and now my WIFE's birthday, all fall on similar dates. (24, 26, 29, etc.) I know my birth month but have to stop and think about the date.

My best birthday celebration as an adult was a couple of years ago, when my wife and I lived in Los Angeles. She asked me out to dinner at a Moroccan restaurant we both enjoy (they have bellydancing as part of the meal). She had secretly invited several friends, who were waiting for us in a private dining room. Good food, lots of wine, bellydancing -- it was a great night.