Exit 212. The best part of a birthday.

I recently celebrated a birthday.  And I think I’ve figured out what it is that I love about birthdays.

It isn’t the excitement of getting older.  That stopped being exciting in my 20s, especially when I was going through that phase where I was invited to a wedding about once a month, and it felt like everyone else’s lives were moving on and I wasn’t.

It isn’t the excitement of getting to treat myself.  I’m an adult.  I do what I want.  I treat myself plenty of other times.  And I suspect that people who like treating themselves on their birthdays probably do too.

For me, the best part of a birthday is feeling loved.  And this birthday was one of the best yet by that measure.

This is the first year that I have had a fair number of coworkers on my Facebook friends.  For years, I always kept Facebook and my job separate as much as possible, just because I didn’t ever want to say anything on Facebook that would get me in trouble at work.  A couple years ago, I did start following and occasionally replying on a Facebook group set up by the local chapter of the teachers’ union where I work, and a few coworkers started to find me there.  I allowed it, and I added a few more of my own, the ones I tend to talk to about more than just work stuff, because compared to most people I know, I don’t really share a whole lot of controversial stuff and I’m being paranoid about nothing.

So when I got to work on the morning of my birthday, several of my coworkers knew that it was my birthday.  We had a staff meeting in the afternoon, and they sang to me and gave me cake.  (The principal’s secretary got it all on Facebook Live, and a former coworker who retired commented on it and said hi, so I’m now back in touch with a former coworker whom I hadn’t seen in over a year.)  Two of my classes also sang to me, although I wrote up on the board next to the date that it was my birthday.

This weekend, I invited people over to help me celebrate.  I always tell them that gifts are not required, but a few of them bring gifts anyway, and the ones who do are usually so thoughtful about it.  I have one friend who makes artwork of pixelated retro video game characters out of plastic beads; my game room with all my old video games is decorated with quite a few of his creations, of which he always brings a few new ones every year as birthday presents.  My friend who made the cake made it in the shape of a basketball jersey in Sacramento Kings colors, with my last name and the number 42, both because I turned 42 and because of the number’s use in the works of Douglas Adams.  (There was a little more to the story of the cake, but I don’t need to get into that here.)  Someone else made me a t-shirt of a Jeopardy game board, with categories that would be perfect for me, like Mathematical Equations, Sacramento Kings, and “Firefly” Quotes.

I think what makes this all the more special for me is that I remember a time when I really didn’t have friends.  I know what it’s like to be on the absolute bottom rung of the social ladder, and because of that I will never take for granted the people in my life now.

Thank you all.


  1. It’s so wonderful you have love and people in your life when you remember a time you didn’t really have friends (gives me hope to read that, too). Made me chuckle that you wrote on the board it was you birthday but amazing you got two songs out of it! A lovely way to look at birthdays and I’m glad you had a good celebration! =]

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