Landmarks and milestones
My dad turned 65 this week and is now officially “retired”. To celebrate, my mother held a retirement party for him at a local church and invited a group of their friends for hors d’oeurves, crudités, chips, and cakes. I took a few pictures here and there, mainly to keep myself occupied. I always feel a little awkward in large gatherings, and that feeling is intensified when it’s a group of devout Christians at least 20 or 30 years older than I am, no matter how nice they are. I just don’t feel like I’m relating to them as an adult so much as the child of their friends, and I feel perpetually twelve years old in these situations. But the gathering’s for Dad, and Mom’s hard work paid off.
It got me thinking about my upcoming birthday. I’m turning 30 in April, and for the most part I really don’t do too much to celebrate, aside from a meal out with the family. I had a few good and notable birthdays when I was younger, though. When I was attending Mount Allison, I was lucky to have some close friends who would either take me out to dinner or hit the bars with me. I went to the campus pub on my 20th birthday. I went to a chain restaurant across the provincial border on my 21st birthday where I discovered I probably have my family’s seafood allergy (thank you, Clamato juice). My favorite birthday would probably be number 22, though: after this interminable campus awards show, I started the festivities with an informal gathering at Ducky’s for a few drinks; a nice, mellow evening at first. What really made this a birthday for the ages was when two good friends and I had an impromptu idea to take a cab over to Amherst, NS and hit a few of the bars there. I remember singing “Hey, Hey, We’re The Monkees” together, all inhibition tossed aside by a few drinks and fewer people we knew. It’s weird thinking about how long ago that was, though.
I’ve got to do something for my 30th birthday. I don’t know exactly what it would be, and I don’t really want to put too much expectation around it. My birthday looks like it will fall on a Monday this year, and drinking myself into a stupor doesn’t have the same appeal to me these days as it did when I was younger. I really haven’t done anything notable for my birthday for a few years, though. I appreciate the streams of Happy Birthday coming at me on my Facebook wall, and I like the excuse to eat a good meal, but I don’t know how to really distinguish this year from the others. I usually don’t make a big deal about my birthday wherever I work, and the last time I did something extravagant was a weekend trip to Sackville to visit a friend. All I really need is to get together with a few good friends, a little beer or wine, and create a pleasant memory. I honestly don’t know how I’d respond to a huge gesture.