On celebrating birthdays and other occasions
January 29, 2009
My birthday just passed me by, 23rd of this month. I'm 38. Perhaps many would notice my being straightforward with regard to my age. Well, I've long reached that stage when age doesn't really matter anymore. I mean, what counts more, for me, are the experiences, accomplishments, achievements, trials, and material things that I have gained (or lost) and amassed through all the years.
I did not celebrate my birthday with a big bang. I did not have a birthday cake, birthday balloons, parlor games, or even a simple costume party. We--my family--just had dinner at a sushi restaurant in Downtown Winnipeg. No singing of the happy birthday song; just simple birthday greetings. I like it better that way, at this stage of my life--simple, peaceful, intimate celebration. Not that I dislike big gatherings, but I've long renounced my affinity for big celebrations. I don't like the fact that many invitees attend gatherings feeling pressured to show up not without anything to give to the celebrant. As for me, every time I get invited to a party or any celebration, I don't compel myself to bring a gift. I like to believe that I was invited because the celebrant simply wanted me to partake of the joyful event. So, I don't usually bring gifts to a party. If I choose to attend, I simply show up there, greet the celebrant, socialize with my fellow invitees, and enjoy whatever food was there. I think this is the real essence of being an invitee. I don't criticize the manners of the other invitees, I don't criticize the clothes everyone is wearing, and most of all, I don't criticize the food or the venue. I know that many people fall in to this folly. They get invited to a party, and then instead of feeling appreciative of being invited, they criticize the food, the venue, the service, their fellow attendees. Most of all, many feel compelled to bring something or to give something to the celebrant. Sometimes they criticize the people who invited them for having put them in a situation when and where they must spend for gifts and for "stealing" their precious weekend free time.
Bottomline, we always have a choice. And whatever our choices are, we should stand by it.
If you get invited to a party, don't attend if you don't feel like it. Don't feel embarrassed for having failed to attend. If you're at the moment running low of budget, don't compel to buy a gift or to give something. Your presence should be enough for whoever invited you. Attending a part or any celebration must always be a leisure activity. There should be no pressures. In the same manner that if you happened to be the celebrant inviting people to your party, you should not expect to receive something from the people attending your party. Their being there should be enough to be thankful for.
So, in case I decided to celebrate my next birthday with a big bang or any other important occasion in my life with a party, and you received an invitation from me, don't be compelled to attend if you have more important things to attend to; or if in case you decided to attend my party, don't feel pressured to bring a gift or to give something. Your mere presence in my party should be enough. And you may come in whatever attire you feel socially comfortable. I don't believe in the myth that people should attend parties wearing formal, semi-formal, or this and that type of clothes. I believe in the ultimate freedom of being yourself.
Happy Birthday to me.
Gifts or no gifts, I still have to thank Fate and the Natural Order of the Universe for giving me such wondrous gifts in time for my birthday.
First, my firstborn is coming out anytime now. His name will be Evawwen Lii-athne Frriloem. The first name, Evawwen, is the reverse spelling of New Wave, one of my favorite genres of music, the other one being Post-Punk. I considered Post-Punk in reverse, but it doesn't read and sound good to me. The second and the last names are names of characters I created for my fantasy fiction novel Visionata Grandiosa--Lii-athne Aardne and Frriloem Kryyle--a novel I began writing more than ten years ago and I am yet to finish.
Second, I just formed a new band, The Half Gifts. We're coming along really well. We're having a weekly session, arranging original compositions, with the purpose of recording these at a professional studio in the coming months.
Thank you very much to all those who have greeted me and sent their missives in however way. I appreciate it all!
Special thanks go to my friends and acquaintances on Multiply, Facebook, Friendster, as well as my longtime and close friends who remembered and took the moment to greet me.