I just had a birthday. It sucked. I would normally say I “celebrated” my birthday. But this year, I canceled my birthday. I started out my birthday morning feeling okay—not great—but by evening, I was canceling my plans with friends. I hate canceling. I was canceling on my friends. I was canceling on myself. I was canceling my birthday!
I love my birthday. It’s the one day I feel like I can suspend disbelief about my life—the world expects you to indulge in yourself, welcome a little attention, and be extra happy. I don’t get many of those days, and is it too much to expect my birthday to be a semi-healthy, dreamy, kind of fantastic day?
But there wasn’t a great celebration because I’m flaring. Fortunately, July was a really great month for me—the best of the year—thanks to a few really awesome days with friends, a Family Reunion, and Comic-Con. But my birthday? No dice.
Birthdays are important when you are sick. We need a day to feel special, because special for us is like “normal” for everyone else. It’s also an important reminder that we have survived another year. That we’re here against the odds. I’ve come perilously close to death. People forget that. I had to remind them—“hey, today is a great day (even though I’m on the couch)…because I’m still alive and kicking!
” So, although I can’t count on perfect birthdays and I’m “old” according to my niece, I’m starting to see my birthday as my “new year” celebration and like the Christmas holiday season, I am stretching out the celebration for a few weeks. Each birthday is a triumph against disease. It’s a fist pump in the air because I’m a fighter. And it’s giving the finger, Star-Lord style, to a world that doesn’t tolerate illness and disability. So happy birthday to me, and happy birthday to you, and you, and you.