Today is my birthday, but within 9 days, it is crowded with them. Yesterday, January 4th was Dr. Alma Flor Ada’s birthday. She was my doctoral dissertation chair and mentor. It was also the birthday of Ray Ruiz, the New Orleans reader who also owns a B and B. Today is mine and . Tomorrow, the 6th is Sheila Orlowski’s. Her family took me in when I moved to Michigan to complete high school. We have been friends ever since then. She shares the date with Jennifer McCluskey, a nurse I used to work with and was very close to. January 8th, is the birthday of a former partner John E. Holmes. We have remained friends over the years too.
When I awoke this morning knowing it was my birthday, I wondered why we celebrate them beyond the age of twenty-one. As a child they are rites of passage either along with or replacing the other rites of Bar Mitzvah or Confirmation for example, though there are others. From the teen years, there is the rite of passage of getting a driver’s license; this is followed by the ages to vote or drink legally, depending on the state/country.
Now, I think we should devote more celebration to the other rites of passage or accomplishments in life. Getting engaged for example takes mental, physical, and spiritual work on differing levels. Not a solo event, it takes two people putting through their best efforts through that tediously long interview process before they make the ultimate commitment. An engagement deserves celebration.
Living together or marriage, after the final masks are thrown off and we see exactly what we have committed to; it takes more work, compromise, planning, mental challenges and renewed spirit of the soul. Each year that these two people survive the hardships and joys of being together should be celebrated.
School graduations take mental effort in order to reach that stage. There was work, energy, and determination involved. Let’s cheer for those who graduate.
Let’s also cheer for those who find a job they are qualified for, are using their qualifications, find it fulfilling, and work to the best of their abilities to maintain. If they are not made redundant through no fault of their own, we should show all forms of merriment each year that are there.
Aging though, I have real questions about after a certain age. I think greeting cards companies should rethink their birthday greetings. Here are some suggestions:
1. Congratulations! You have avoided sniper fire for another year. Way to go!
2. Well, you made it through living another year. I guess God did give you enough brains to keep your blood flowing and your lungs breathing.
3. Gosh, another year has passed and you are another year older, but yet it took no effort on your part to age. Well done!
4. Best wishes on getting another year older. At the rate you are going, you will be dead sooner than you think.
5. Wow, another year of learning the cross the street safely, not eat poisonous mushrooms, and ducking when your spouse throws those knives at you. You are an example for us all. Good on’ya!
Regardless of what my thoughts are on my own birthday, I wish all the best to all of the others who are sharing a special day this week. If you don’t send birthday greetings, I will not think any less of you. Certainly, I have a negative attitude toward my aging process, so I won’t hold it against you.
These people were born on the same day and same year as I.
Pamela Sue Martin, Westport Ct, actress (Nancy Drew, Fallon-Dynasty)
Steve Archer, American singer (The Archers)
Mike Rann, Australian politician
George Tenet, American CIA director