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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Just Another Day


In Because It's Not, I wrote of a philosophy that I and many of my peers once shared: that birthdays and holidays really had little meaning because, in fact, they were "just another day." We defended this position and, of course, it can be easily defended on utilitarian grounds.

However, one relationship with a woman changed all that. She was the consummate planner, participant and lover of social gatherings. A discussion once ensued about my view concerning special days carried over from my youth. She made a very simple point. To her, holidays, birthdays and anniversaries were just opportunities to celebrate.

It was finally beginning to sink in. This was about nurturing the human spirit, not about living life from a practical perspective - so easy to get lost in when living in a place like New York City, where many define their existence by money, careers and other achievements. My awakening was further cemented by other conversations, particularly one that inspired my story, Let's Have a Parade - see here.

Today is my birthday, and for a number of reasons, I had indicated that I wanted no party, in spite of efforts of a number of friends to plan one. After some reflection and soul searching, I have decided to read my own writing and take my own advice. It is also a time to be less self centered and let others express their love for others and their joie de vivre. It's time to let others have a parade and share in it, not rain on it. I will be celebrating my birthday - I will not treat it like it's Just Another Day :)

17 comments:

Leslie said...

As you so beautifully said in a past post, "A world without love, flowers, laughter, and parades would be a dreary one."

Think of a celebration of your Birth-Day as being 'Self Honoring'...always a good thing!!!

I honor the goodness of who you really are, so Happy B'day and congrats on who you've honed yourself to be, and the excitement you bring to your life, and the world, every day!

Trine Secher said...

I know what you mean about celebrating special days. But some time ago I found out that a birthday is not necessaryly a celebration of me as a person, but more a celebration of what that person has done (contributed with). And that worked. I am now a proud participant of my birthdays and other special days. So what you should do is see your close ones' celebrating as a tribute to the part of you who every day walks out into the big world called New York City and makes it possible for us around the world to walk with you. The part of you that inspires, entertains and enlightens us in the most beautiful way possible.
I raise my glass to you on this day and wish you "A very happy birthday with many more to come"!
Best wishes for all your special days and thanks for taking us along and making every day special.

Jill from Killeny Glen said...

Brian...you managed to put into words what I have thought my entire life...each day is to be celebrated...and looking for something to celebrate takes the blah/ordinary and can make the "suckiest" day enjoyable/memorable.

Happy Birthday to you! Glad you are joining IN the parade. There will be sun.

Edith said...

To say it with some of Jill's words: YOU can make the "suckiest" day enjoyable! Thank you so much for all the stories about people / places / happenings in NYC and the wonderful pictures! Your blog is the front page of my browser, so that I won't miss one of the stories, even if I don't understand all of them completely, due to the lack of vocabulary ;-)
Happy birthday from Germany!
The best of luck, keep well and fit and have a wonderful day with tons of fun!

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday! Enjoy this special day!

time traveler said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY BRIAN--HOPE YOUR DAY IS INDEED A HAPPY ONE..MYSELF,ON MY BIRTHDAY, I ALWAYS SAY THANKS TO MY MOTHER AND A PRAYER FOR MY DAD..THANKS FOR ALL THE STORIES AND TERRIFIC PHOTOS..

Tartine et Cie. said...

Happy Birthday dear Brian. I hope you enjoy your special day. I am glad that you will.

Gloria C. said...

As I got older, I would look at the birthdays and holidays being celebrated as "just another day," but then after the passing of my grandmother, who was the Matriarch of our family, I sort of took up the mantle to continue her traditions. Now, I look at Birthdays and holidays as a time to spend with my family and close friends. It's a time to share and be hopeful, because tomorrow isn't promised. It's not necessarily about gifts and monetary donations to a person, but more about the memories that can be created from these gatherings.

My said...

Now you just turned 60. I am glad you are happy.

Happy Birthday!

Thérèse said...

Raising my glass...

Mary P. said...

Happy birthday, Brian! And many, many more!

Rosilee said...

Brian, I wish you a Happy Belated Birthday.... sorry I missed it yesterday. I hope you had a wonderful day.

Ceciel said...

Joyeux anniversaire !
Funny, this flower bed almost has the shape of France ; only Brittany is missing... (no chauvinism there !)

Sue K said...

Each and every birthday is a gift! Celebrate! Happy Birthday, Brian!!

Julia said...

After the recent death of my uncle, I realised how quickly you can pack someone's life away: every day is indeed to be celebrated...Hapy Birthday Brian :))

Jimmy said...

Happy birthday, Sir Brian! :) You might not be a knight by title, but I feel like you can be called like this. About the celebration - just have fun, it's not a written law, that you have to celebrate your birthday, you can just have a good time, bd or not. That's what I do, I don't necessarily like those days. All of the best, man, keep your head on your shoulders. :)

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Brodsky Organization said...

What an inspiring post! We agree, nurturing the human spirit is an integral part of living happily. We hope you had a wonderful birthday...and don't forget to set aside a bit of time to stop and smell the flowers.