Ever think about the phrase “Happy Birthday”?
It’s one of the easiest and most commonly expresed sentiments you will run across in day to day life. In Real Life, if people know it’s your birthday, they will almost invariably tell you they hope you have a happy birthday on and around the Big Day, even if they don’t really like you much. On social media, it’s right up there with #yolo in terms of how many times you’ll see it in a news feed, and when you get the 537 birthday wishes in your Facebook feed on your birthday, if you’re like me you like to see who just says “Happy Birthday” (most people), who says something clever like “Hippo Birdies to you” (*cough*Megan Olvera*cough*) and who writes a more heartfelt message about how they are glad that the People of Earth have been blessed to have you walking among them the last 365 days.
But when is the last time you wished YOURSELF a Happy Birthday?
If you’re like most people, the very idea sounds ludicrous. You think of birthday wishes as something you give to someone else, or that others give to you. And on some level, we have the idea that it is other people’s responsibility to make our birthday nice and we are along for the ride. I reject that idea. I think that so much in life is what we make of it, and that birthdays aren’t really any different.
Five years ago, a great guy wrote this about his 40th birthday:
My birthday was quite quiet and wonderful.
The cleaning lady spiffed up the house.
I got chocolate pie (french silk) and some time with my WoW game.
And I got to spend some time with my sweetie DKA.
I ordered my bike rack online.
So that should show up in like 10 days or so.
And my family all chipped in so I can afford to buy a smoker.
Got a nice Weber 22″ all picked out at Lowes.
I’m supposed to eat a low sodium diet.
So BBQ and Pizza are two things I tend to miss the most.
Pizza there isn’t much hope for.
You just can’t make really awesome pepperoni and sausage without salt.
And then there’s the cheese … mmm … cheese.
You can make good pizza, but it isn’t PIZZA.
That hot, cheesy, salty, wondeful stuff I lived off of in college.
I’ve been reading books and watching TV about BBQ though.
And I’ve been practicing smoking with my kettle grill.
In my own opinion I do a pretty good job with ribs and chicken.
I’m hoping to be able to smoke bigger batches and freeze them.
Or even do a whole turkey or two for Thanksgiving this year.
So I’m sort of pumped.
A simple recap of a 40th birthday spent doing *exactly* what he wanted for a whole day.
But this isn’t a recap of just any birthday. It’s a recap of how Andy spent his very last birthday.
This was truly a great day, and I am so glad we had it together. I did what I could to make this birthday great, but what Andy did was even more important. He decided that he wanted to make it great too. He didn’t decide that he was going to grouse about turning 40, or punt on having a nice day because his birthday was on a Monday and therefore not a Big Deal. He decided to have fun, hang out, have a nice day, and plan out how to make some delicious BBQ in the Very Near Future.
This year, I will turn 40. I don’t expect it to be my last birthday, but neither did Andy. So even though I don’t have a partner to plan a great day for me, I will try to plan one for myself as best I can….because you never know which birthday will be your last.
(I sure won’t turn down help from anyone who wants to help make it fun though!)
Long live Happy Birthdays.