I suppose the title of this blog post is pretty self-explanatory. 28 years ago on this day, March 12th, I burst into this world in ribbons of sunshine and rainbows and starbursts.
Actually, it was probably more like a hot mess wailing and crying and hoping to god no one dropped me because you know, being born is stressful business. But I digress.
Of all the days of the year nature chose this one, March 12, 1987, for the journey that is Hanna to officially begin. I like to imagine that “Heat of the Moment” by Asia or “Here I Go Again” by Whitesnake was playing on the radio as Madonna wannabes in high school bathrooms everywhere teased their hair and shook their bangles and scrunched their leg warmers. Those hard opening chords of “Heat of the Moment” are always playing in the background when I imagine anything in the 1980s, actually. Why I’ve picked that song out of the absurd amount of 80s music I like is anyone’s guess.
In a weird narcissistic way, it’s kind of hard to believe that the whole world doesn’t start when you do and grow as you grow. I mean, going from not being in the world to being in it is kind of a big deal. It’s hard to believe everyone wasn’t scurrying about getting life all ready for your arrival.
But no matter. It was official: I had a day. It was time to start living.
Anyway. Birthdays. So, somewhere along the way, pin the tail on the donkey and ice cream and goodie bags turned to Saturday afternoons at the Playstation or SuperSkate, then to sleepovers and pool parties, then to the bars, before eventually tapering off into smaller and smaller quiet dinners out and evenings with friends and family. At some point in the past 28 years I went from feeling like a queen for a day to feeling like a normal person who just happens to be getting a little more attention than usual.
But I’ve always loved my birthday. I don’t have lavish celebrations or throw myself an entire “birthday week” each year, but I have to admit I do really enjoy the fact that this is the one day of the year where everyone is really nice to me, and I like seeing the flood of greetings from well-wishers on Facebook and getting 10% discounts on hair cuts and ice cream. And CAKE. All the cake. Really I don’t understand how people can not like birthday cake. Weirdos. Just saying or typing the word “birthday” makes me crave it.
Anyway – it just makes me happy. It reminds me that I am a special person, that I have a wonderful life and I’m blessed to have it, that I matter.
My birthday present to myself this year was to take my birthday and Friday off work and have a fun, relaxing 4-day STAYcation! (Okay, let’s be real – that’s definitely not going to be my only present to myself and we both know it.) I’ve never done this before and it occurred to me as I write this that this will be the first time I’ve ever spent most of my birthday alone. Every year I’ve either been at work, or at school, or somehow surrounded by people all day even if it’s Saturday or Sunday. But today, until we got out to dinner in the evening, I’m flyin’ solo.
Of course the planner in me feels pressured to structure my time perfectly, to maximize every moment of my special day by filling it with all the coolness I can handle. Because I only get one birthday, and once it’s over that’s it, back to normal, right?
But I don’t know everything I want to do today. Maybe I don’t need to know, maybe I shouldn’t know. The thing about these staycations and special days is that I get so hyped up about all the awesome things I can pack into them and I always end up underwhelmed. They are just never as fun as I imagine they’ll be, probably because of all the pressure I feel to “make the most” of them and live up to some Ferris Bueller-esque fantasy instead of just going with how I feel that day.
Last month’s staycation day ended up being unexpectedly awesome. Because other than an early dentist appointment and going to buy new running shoes, I really had no plans or expectations for the day. I ended up writing my way all over the city on bus rides and in restaurants and coffee shops and I just loved it. Even though I didn’t really do much, it was wonderful to spend the day catching up with myself.
Maybe I don’t need to know, even now, what today has in store. Maybe I don’t need to scrutinize what’s behind and obsess over what lies ahead; maybe it’s enough on this day to just be. To just feel content, and appreciative, and inhale some big breaths of this new Spring air and think: you know? I did alright here. It doesn’t matter than I’m not perfect, that I have flaws, that I don’t have a lot of money. I am a pretty cool cat and I’ve got it pretty darn good and it’s pretty awesome to be in this life.
Because I only get one birthday, and once it’s over that’s it, back to normal, right?
Just treasure it.
And no, you don’t need to tell me to have a piece of cake for you. Don’t worry. I will.