March 11, 2014

Birthday Blues

It's harder and harder to ignore ones birthday in this era of social media and big data.

I've pulled my birthdate off Facebook and removed it from the yoga studio system, and that has been pretty effective in years past, but this year Linked In notified my contacts, and that bled over to Facebook pretty quickly. In addition, the camp calendar prints our birthdays. So although I was somewhat mysterious about the actual date, the word got out. It's been bouncing around since Friday, and as late as last evening, when I was acknowledging the event at the studio, people were assuming I was being disingenuous. 

See the thing is, my birthday was (and geenrally is) not all that different from any other day. Yesterday was no different - taught yoga, worked, practiced yoga, ate two meals alone (one not so healthy, one healthy). I did treat myself to a carrot cake cupcake but even that's not all that unusual. No cards, no cake, no presents, no family, no friends, no celebration.

So you will excuse me if I am less than effusive at the Facebook wishes for a birthday that is spectacular, monumental, or any other approbatory sentiment. Because that's not how my life is; and the more social and cultural promotion that comes my way to have that sort of birthday, the more painful and depressing the reality is.

I'm grateful for this life, I am happy to acknowledge the date. But the faux and surfacey "have a great day" aspect of birthday wishes (as heartfelt and well intended as they are) is just not a good fit for me; I do not have the sort of community or social circle to celebrate with.

At my age, birthdays are a bit like watching an altimeter pass through a 1000 foot rotation after one has jumped out of an airplane without a parachute. You notice the dial spinning but it's kind of hard to celebrate the ground approaching at terminal velocity....

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