Saturday, October 7, 2017

50 for 50 day 31: Shadows and light

This is post 31 of 50 celebrating my 50th birthday. You can see the rest here.

I had lunch with a dear friend recently. We share our birthday date, and were chatting about how we are each celebrating our birthdays. This year is a landmark age for us both. He told me about the plans for his party (which sounds great!) and asked what I was doing. I wasn't quite sure how to answer.

As you may know, I believe birthdays are important, that it's a good thing to celebrate our own place in the scheme of things but the last few years have seen me celebrating my own birthday in a scaled down fashion. It wasn't always like that.

For my 40th birthday I had a big party, renting a hall and inviting pretty much everyone I knew. I wore a sexy dress and had a wonderful time talking, laughing, and hugging. Kevin did the arrangements and it was a delight.

For Kevin's 50th we invited pretty much everyone he knew, celebrating with bbq and juggling in the back yard. It was a wonderful celebration and he glowed throughout it. I would tease him occasionally about being 50, especially when the AARP ads began coming, and he would warn me that I should just wait until I turned 50. He'd show me.

As I approach my 50th birthday, it feels wrong that he's not here, teasing me about the AARP deluge. It is wrong. And I am not as driven to make a fuss about my own birthday because there is that absence.

Please know, Charley is a wonder and a delight. I am so glad I will be celebrating my birthday with him, but that doesn't lessen the fact that for many, many years I was looking forward to celebrating this with Kevin. It changes how I feel about this birthday in particular. He is supposed to be here and he is not.

I feel that way at most meaningful times (really I feel that way all the time) but it feels more acute right now.

None of this is to say I'm not looking forward to my birthday and whatever celebrating happens. It's just that there is also Kevin's absence and so maybe I don't need as large a fuss, because that will only make his gap feel larger.

So what will I be doing for my birthday? I will have a couple of good meals. I will talk with friends and family, I will laugh and smile and eat cake. I will attend my friend's party and celebrate his place in the world and mine, too. I will kiss my new love with joy and I will likely cry, missing the old. That's okay. Birthdays are a celebration of life, and life is shadows and light.

This is what 50 looks like. The light is more vivid because of the dark.
(c)2017 Laura S. Packer Creative Commons License

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