Last night was officially the final celebration of my birthday.
Tonight my head and my tummy are telling me that I’m not as young as I used to be, and that maybe, just maybe that last half-bottle of wine was a bit too much.
Moderation be damned, it has been far too long since I laughed that hard. It doesn’t matter how old you get, how much education you have, whether or not you’re a mother or a wife, we all have a spiritual need to laugh, be silly, and lighten up.
Some things never change. We talked about our careers, finances and the men in our lives, or in my case, not in my life and we laughed at one another’s stories because we totally ‘get‘ it.
We took silly pictures and checked out who’s who with regard to available single men that may be interested in dating yours truly.
I’ve known some of these ladies for a long time now. I’ve seen them when they were carefree, and when they were fighting to get through very dark times. To see them laugh; fall back and belly laugh – made me happy. I couldn’t have asked for a better birthday gift than the company I shared last night.
One by one my pals said their good-byes, until finally one lady fell victim to the chesterfield’s seductive pull. Myself and another pal ended the night with some one on one gal talk. It’s been too long since we’ve seen one another, and it was nice to have a few quiet moments to catch up with one another.
Our conversation wove through the evening and the wine bottles. We talked about haircuts and clothes, men and old flames. We laughed about the absurdity of everyday life, and what it means to be a mother, wife and singleton. It wasn’t much different from all of those nights that my best friend and I used to come home after high school dances and talked about boys, school and what kind of life we hoped we’d have in the future . It’s just that now, my gal-pals and I have way more experience to draw from and that much more perspective.
Each of us has the trappings of what we thought it meant to live life as an adult, but all of us are still just girls at heart; still dreaming, hoping and trying to get through our days.
It’s true, that oh-so-wonderful day is approaching! Yes, yes, it’s true, I’ve almost made it through another year.
Most ladies-of-a-certain-age like to keep their BIRTHDAY on the down-low, you know, keep it quiet so they can go home and weep tears of pity into a bathtub full of half-popped bubbles.
But not me. No sirree.
You see, I’ve earned every single wrinkle, dimple, roll and jiggle that defines this body and soul of mine, and every year, I like to celebrate.
This is the year before the “BIG” birthday, you know, a number that ends with a ‘0’. I figure I need to celebrate this year to practice for the big one next year. That makes sense right?
My birthday is NOT a birthday without cake. I like my cake like I like my men, deep, dark, and a just slightly more than I can handle.
Although I have earned my seniority in this career of life, I still feel like there’s so much more to learn and to be.
If you’ve been following along this year, you’ll know I had some pretty grand New Year’s Resolutions. I’ve accomplished two of four, and those were no small victories, let me tell you that!
There are two more goals I would like to reach; one I have control over, and the other, well, let’s just say that Venus, Cupid and Aphrodite had better get on the stick!
As far as birthday wishes….hmm, well, I have been crowned a “Hallmark Whore” by some of my less gentile pals. I do like the sentiment of a handwritten note, a well-chosen card, flowers, and phone calls….but don’t we all?
I was asked by the kiddo what I wanted this year, and I gave what I hope is a simple, inexpensive list.Most of all, I wish the total indulgence of spending time with the people I love; my kiddo, my mumster, my friends. Time…a commodity that has a mysterious limited quantity for each of us.
I do have one wish. One wish I have always thought was a very selfish wish. Maybe I’ll take a chance this year and tack it onto the standard wish I wish for every year. You know, the wish you always make because you’d feel guilty if I wished for anything else.
As I’ve aged (and aged extremely well don’t you know), I’ve come to a sure and certain knowledge deep down in my sparkly little heart – it’s not a selfish wish after all. It’s something we all wish for.
But that’s something deeply personal. One of my besties may be able to wring it out of me. ONLY if they bring cake and drink enough champagne to loosen the tight lock that’s rusted to my ego.
It’s no secret that I like to celebrate and socialize with my happy face and party pants on. But buried underneath the smile and the party pants is a woman whose wants and needs are very simple, and as necessary to life as the cake, the champagne, and the friends with whom I share it.
This weekend, I had a discussion about the delicacy of gift giving. The haggaring duty of it, and the joy it can be as well.What kind of gift giver are you? The reality is, many of us are obligated gift givers. We buy for occasions which are dictated by etiquette.Each year, at about this time, I get an unsolicited email from my ex-husband. Usually the subject line is something like; Birthday and Christmas gift ideas. Every year when it arrives, I have a good laugh at the irony,but know that I will likely assist our kiddo in choosing a gift or two from this list.
I often say I don’t like giving lists because I don’t like people to feel obligated, but maybe it’s becaue I like surprises. As odd as it seems to me, my ex-husband’s list makes my life easier. I know that these are things he won’t buy for himself, and I know that he will be happy with the gift.
Whichever school of thought you belong to – the list or not to list – you’re right. Gift giving is a tricky business. The gifts you give reveal a lot about you and your relationship with the gift-getter.
I have had wonderful gifts that were also heartbreaking. When I was younger, I was given very expensive gifts of clothing. Clothing that I would never, ever wear because it was not a reflection of who I was. I felt like the giver was trying to tell me to change my image. I know it’s hard to believe, being as fabulous as I am, but I’m a socks, underwear and a book kinda girl. Walking around flashing designer names makes me feel like a dickwad.
Another example of heartbreaking gifts were from a previous true-love-of mine .He gave me wonderful gifts. All of his gifts were beautiful, but they were things he knew (without a doubt) that I did not like. Again, they were gifts with a message; change who you are.
Then there are gifts from children. These are not heartbreaking gifts, because they are from children, not adults who need therapy. My very favourite, I-love-this-so-I’m-buying-it-for-you-gift was from my kiddo. Many years ago, there was one package under the tree for me. It was a box about 8″x8″x8″. My kiddo would put it in my lap each night the week before Christmas, and make me shake it. By the time the week was up, he had me convinced that whatever was in that box was abso-freaking-lutely marvelous.
Christmas morning came, and I opened the box. It was filled with….are you ready for this? It was filled with three pieces of plastic fruit; an apple, an orange and a banana. Yes, for a four-year-old, plastic fruit is wonderful, and holds all the potential of a four-year-old’s endless imagination. I kept that fruit in the centrepiece on the kitchen table for two years because he was so proud of having bought me a gift.
Giving gifts you think someone will love makes you happy. Thus the popular saying, ” It is better to give than to receive.”
I offer you a few thoughts about gift giving options;
Gift Cards – can be interpreted as a very lazy way out of shopping for something meaningful OR can be a wonderful gift for someone saving for a specific item at a specific shop
Homemade Gifts – when I was a kid, I always felt a little ripped off with the whole let’s-make-our-gifts. As an adult, I realize how precious those gifts are, and the love that goes in to them. Give me a homemade gift any day. If someone has taken the time to make me a gift, they have taken the time to keep me in their heart.
Boy-Girl-Romance Gifts – I can only give a short list of what women want, because what men want is a mystery to me. Women love flowers, jewelry, perfume and luxurious clothing (ie leather gloves, beautiful scarves, delicate nighties), and a ‘date-night’ to frame the moment.
Gift of Time – as we get older, and life takes on a constant buzz of obligation, the gift of time is more precious than any. So what if it’s only during the holidays that we make the time? It’s not hypocrisy, it’s an annual time to catch up, to stare at the twinkling lights, dream out loud, drink hot chocolate and laugh.
Heirloom Gifts – when someone gives me a gift that belonged to someone special in their life, I feel truly blessed. These gifts say, ‘You are my family of choice.”
Too often I see gifts given because there is obligation. “Do you think this is enough?” I heard this growing up every birthday, Christmas, wedding and occasion.
The question is, does the giver think that it’s enough? Is it thoughtful? Is it within your means? Will it make the person receiving it smile, breathe easier, and feel good?
If it comes from the heart, it is enough.
I guarantee if you cut down on giving gifts you feel obligated to give, and give to those who make your life worthwhile every day, you’ll be a much more fulfilled gift giver.
Did you know that the “luxury market” is set to boom this year? Bain and Company makes this prediction in the face of the looming global economic crisis. Did you know that Noam Chomsky has predicted this economic crisis by way of middle/working class brainwashing (by “them” – the combined political/capitalist elite)and apathy for decades?
Why, all of this thinking could make a girl dizzy! So, while my Vietnamese aesthetician exfoliated and massaged my feet today, I came up with my “If I were a Rich Girl Birthday Gift Wish List”.
1)I will open the door to you holding a bottle of Clive Christian‘s Imperial Majesty Perfume: Price $215,000, and a bouquet of orchids crafted of peridot, diamonds and rubies. Of course they will be token gifts for me so that you may cross my very glamorous domestic threshold.
2) Le Creuset‘s Metal Cork Catcher. That way we can start the occasion off with some bubbly minus the worry of injuring anyone, or more importantly anything.
3)Of course I would like a nice bottle of bubbly to practice using the Cork Catcher. Let’s see. Hmm? How about a nice bottle of the Shipwrecked 1907 Heidsieck. Better get on that. It’s rare, and you only have a month left before my big day. If for some reason you’re not man enough to get your hands on a bottle of that, I’ll take some Pernod-Ricard Perrier-Jouet. Actually, better get two.
4)A nice little Michael Kors leather-bodice dress to wear for the special occasion. I’ll need to get it altered for a little extra va-va-va-boob, so don’t leave it too late.
5)Pearls are a no-no for a man to give for a woman as they represent tears. Since I’ve had some experience with this, I will resist putting a beautiful strand of pearls on this list. Instead, how about a little something from Cartier. I think the Two-For-Trinity necklace would go nicely with the dress. Oh yah, and the earrings too.
6)For our little ride to the airport there’s a 1951 Rolls out there you could arrange. If you can’t manage the ’51, the ’49 will do.
7)After your people book a private luxury flight to Charles De-Gaulle, be sure you have made reservations at L’Ambroisie. You get the best tables if you call 01-42-78-51-45. Mmmm…can’t wait to blow out the candle on the tarte fine sablée au cacao! Oh you’re so good to me. This is where I will open your real birthday gift to me..ooooh! I can’t wait for the surprise! I hope it’s shiny!
8)After dinner let’s slum it a bit and hit Au Lapin Agile after dinner eh? I know, it’s not Michelin starred darling, but let’s have a laugh and buy the house a round. Please, pretty please. I promise we can make for the jet straight away after the last act.
9) I suppose I need a “you” to direct this birthday list too. How about one of the world’s eligible billionaires? I have a lot of respect for Oprah, but being heterosexual and all, I’ll take Eike Batista. The latin ones are always pretty frisky and we’re born only 5 days apart – we can celebrate together! After a couple glasses of bubbly they all look the same anyway…blah, blah, blah.
10)A simple Langford cedar canoe. You see, indulgence can only ever come to a catastrophic end, whether it’s gluttony or greed. Kinda like the global economy. I figure with the canoe – I’ll have a place to reflect upon my 37th year as our civilization crumbles around me.
All of this Noam-Chomsky-subversive-truth-telling-while-waiting-for-civilized-North-American-life-as-we-know-it-to- blow-out-our-liberal-class-sputtering-candle is enough to make a girl think twice about filling up her gas tank, or heaven forbid hope for a little over-the-top-materialistic-romance. Sheesh! Somebody pass me that bottle opener and whatever cheap hooch we’ve got on hand.
Since I likely won’t be getting any of the things on my greedy-guts-glam list, I’ll settle for a little public education. Go out and get yourself some Chomsky in honour of this gal’s big day. Perhaps start light with Chris Hedges and his Death of the Liberal Class.
After you’ve finished reading come on over, have a beer with me on the patio and chat. After all, enlightened conversation is a priceless gift. It’s all about the Om baby.