When it comes to holidays, I’m a firm believer that a person’s birthday is their one special day just for them. It’s their holiday; their day to do whatever their heart desires (within the constraints imposed by the necessities of finances, work schedules, etc). But I think you know what I mean. Other holidays are about various religious or national celebrations and involve the whole family being active participants. Your birthday is just that…yours.
Seven years ago on the occasion of my 40th birthday I chose to not do any chores on that day. Now, this was not necessarily an unusual choice on my part; I avoid housework as much as I possibly can. On that day, however, I felt I had a great reason…it was my birthday, my special day, my day to do or not do as I saw fit. To which I was promptly asked if I was somehow special because it was my birthday. And when I asserted that was in fact the case, I was told that I’m not a fucking princess, that I was mistaken and I am not in any way special, and, “Happy Fucking Birthday”.
To say I was devastated doesn’t do justice to how I felt at that moment. That I sit here with tears streaming down my face as I recount the story seven years later speaks to the damage that one interaction did to me. A part of me believed what I was told.
Fast forward through seven years. Years that feel more like lifetimes. I know now, how wrong that person was. I know I suck at housework. And, while I struggle to improve in that area, I also know it has no bearing on what kind of human being I am. I am special. As are you. We all have our faults and we all have wonderful gifts.
So, this year I reclaimed my birthday as my special day and I celebrated for an entire weekend. I didn’t throw any elaborate party or take an exotic trip or spend a lot of money. Hell, I didn’t even bother with a cake this year. What I did do, was spend time with my boys, have two inexpensive meals out where I didn’t have to cook or cleanup, and I got myself a small, useful, inexpensive present.
Oh, and I declared the day to be “Create Something Day”. And my kids and I talked about creativity. And how creating things inside a video game (Minecraft) absolutely counts as creating something.
Then NASA went and landed on Mars. I can’t even begin to discuss the awesomeness of that.
And a friend from Twitter, Lance Schonberg, posted about what creative things he had done on “Create Something Day”. To inspire someone else in any small way is something so amazing I don’t even have words for the joy it gives me.
I spent today and the entire weekend talking to friends on twitter between all the other activities that make up my daily existence (as usual). The first voice I heard on my birthday was that of someone near and dear to me over the phone. And I remembered that not only am I special on my birthday, but I’m special every day, even when I’m not my best me.
I couldn’t ask for better gifts.
Thank you all for the best birthday ever.