My birthday tradition

My birthday is coming. I have a tradition. Since I turned 18, I decided to celebrate every birthday doing something I’ve never done before but always wanted to do. It couldn’t be about luxury or any material thing–just something fun to mark a day in the life and express my gratitude for being able to live it. It was my bucket list before anyone had a name for that sort of thing. Before I was any age to even be thinking about a bucket list.

There were the adventuresome things. The silly things. There were the me-time things. One year, I went horseback riding. Another, mountain biking down a dusty country road. Another time, I learned to rock climb. During a creative spurt, I built a wooden frame for one of my oil paintings. And yet another year, I sat and read a book in one sitting. (Or did I? Those who know me, know what a hard task that is.) In later years, I anonymously sent a drink down the bar to some cute random guy. There was the year I did nothing at all–simply because I wanted to unplan…

I have yet to lay it all on black and let it ride. But I know roulette is a house game, and I work too hard for my money. I have yet to own a house in the south of France where my friends gather around a big farm table in the field. I have yet to film a documentary, write a book and start a real business that I love. I have yet.

I used to write them down, my birthday indulgences. And it got harder and harder every year to come up with something I truly wanted to do. I kind of stopped thinking about it. I stopped looking forward. And then I realized that all the time I was celebrating surviving, I was still somehow just surviving.

This year, I think I’m tired of this tradition. I’m tired of marking the years that I made it. There has to be a moment when I stand up–where I run away from my dark fate like I did as an indignant six year old. When I stand against the inevitable punishment coming my way, pulling out every ounce of courage to change it. That’s what I’ve always wanted to do but haven’t yet…





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