Entertain Me with a Birthday Blog
So let me talk about me while you listen to how great I am and how lucky I feel to be alive. Mmm, just kidding. Birthday time isn’t always a fantastic day of ‘kiss me and let me cry if I want to, because I’ve survived another trip around the sun,’ is it?
It can also be a day spent reflecting on life, as I’m sure we all can admit to doing on our day entering this world that we give everything extra value and literally use to count down our time on this earth. I’ve had times in life where I can’t stand the thought of myself, even the very sight. Looking at my past and present and potential and thinking, ‘What the ….?’
I can see how much more adjusted and successful others are, in every direction: financially, spiritually, intellectually, emotionally, socially, physically, etc. Yet, whenever I am completely honest with myself, I have never met anybody that I would rather be. Narcissistic, egotistical, or just plain delusional, it’s the truth. I wouldn’t know how to be anybody else. And if I was, I’d probably feel so uncomfortable in that skin I would burn it off like a schizophrenic that’s slipped through the cracks of the orderly and structured society we currently reside in.
And today, I woke up to a kiss from a beautiful woman, a happy birthday text from my mother, and happy birthday facebook message from an ex-girlfriend who has never failed to do so since the day I met her almost ten years ago. I’ve been fortunate in life. Not fortunate in being tall or gifted or making money or most things for that matter. But I have been fortunate to have been loved.
I can weigh all of this and visualize it as waking up alone, in a catacomb of a room, with no more cigarettes, no more wine. Just a small desk lamp, a little gut I’m not ashamed enough of, and white hairs starting to spring up on my aging, but not yet wise head. I know the world is out there. The people: doctors, lawyers, street vendors, prostitutes, cooks, dog-walkers, they’re out there, all making money, making a life. And then I roll over to get the sun out of my eyes, and feel the warmth of it on my back.
There is a light somewhere. Artificial or natural. In your eyes or on your back. And it’s always enough light if you allow it to be. People may see me and tell me I am courageous in my independence, romantic in my solitude, even isolation. But very few will know or see the sneaking burden below the bravado: self-doubt brewed with an infatuation for self-knowledge, even self-acceptance.
If You Can’t Appreciate the Present, You’ll Never Appreciate the Future
‘I can’t wait until summer.’
‘I can’t wait until I’m an adult.’
‘I can’t wait until I get a vacation.’
Would you say this about your life?
‘Come on, Baby!’
'We got this!'
‘The birth of a man is the birth of his sorrow. The longer he lives, the more stupid he becomes, because his anxiety to avoid unavoidable death becomes more and more acute. What bitterness! He lives for what is always out of reach! His thirst for survival in the future makes him incapable of living in the present.’ - Chuang Tzu
Going Beyond the Self-Indulgence
What if today wasn’t my birthday?
What if today was actually the day I died. I’m not trying to say I’m suicidal. I’ve already pondered Albert Camus’s ‘only serious philosophical’ problem and came to the conclusion that I will return to dust when it naturally happens. Until then, I will exist as honestly as I can to myself and everyone and everything else around me. Play my role until the curtains fall.
So, go with me on this. Let’s just play with the idea as the intelligent creatures we are capable of being, physiologically and metaphorically.
What if today is the accumulation of many days that have added up to this day, my birthday in this case. And it is also the birthday of a flower or a black hole or even an atom or a turtle. What if it is their birthday as well?
What if it was all the same day, every day? What if it’s just one continuous line? And you, me, we are on that line? Imagine you are a chameleon or a house mouse. Crawling around this world and you only live for a year. And each hour or day or month is a birthday. How would you decide when to celebrate? When the sun comes up and down? When the earth tilts the other way? Would you celebrate at all if you had the choice or you even knew?
Well, no. The chameleon is the chameleon is the chameleon and the mouse is the mouse is the mouse. And it doesn’t matter if it is today or tomorrow. It is the mouse and you are you and I am me. I am Warren. And that is the point of it. You aren’t afraid to be you and he isn’t afraid to be himself. You’re not afraid to die on your birthday. You’re not afraid to celebrate your birthday every single second of every single moment of every single eon.
It will be your birthday in a million years and it is my birthday seven light-years away. It doesn’t matter. And I mean that in the most liberating and exciting and glorious way possible.
Now, pour some more wine and dance as the nights flame with fire.
When Death Comes
By Mary Oliver
When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse
to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle-pox
when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,
I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?
And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,
and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,
and each name a comfortable music in the mouth,
tending, as all music does, toward silence,
and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.
When it's over, I want to say all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.
When it's over, I don't want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.
I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.