My 40th Interdependence Day birthday bash featured a pedal-powered sound system, firespinners and dj’s and bicycles with flaming wheels.Â I’ve celebrated on Mt. Elfinstone and in Horsefly and on a glacier. Last year i convened a spontaneous garden party. I might yet throw something together, and if I do, it will be fun. But i’ve been busy, so maybe it will happen and maybe not.
I’m not feeling especially melancholy, but the day is always a bittersweet reminder of mortality. When you are on your own, it is especially poignant.
It’s not like i don’t value my own company, and love my friends, and all that good new-agey stuff. I have a rich and diverse chosen family, they love me, and they tell me so every day. For this more than anything in my life I am deeply grateful. But if I don’t make the effort to remind people of the day, chances are it will just slide quietly by. Let’s face it – how many birth dates do you know by heart, of people with whom you have shared neither bed nor blood?
When a person has a lover or blood family, life has a certain predictable rhythm. Holidays come with expectations. There are rituals. Visits happen, whether you look to them with pleasure or dread. Birthdays have the indelible resonance of bloodline, and they are forgotten at great peril. When you have blood, it is easy to believe that someone will always be there to fly to your wedding or your deathbed. It is easy to maintain the illusion of permanence, and of permanent connection.
Even as I sometimes pine for those comforting illusions, they just aren’t there to delude or console me. Mine is a different path.
Here is another day, another year, another moment. Another reminder that i am as we all are: deeply loved, but essentially alone in this world.