This is probably my happiest birthday. You’re probably wondering why I summarily pronounced this judgment so early on in the day. I’ve had literally much better birthdays in the past — when the family was more complete, when I had the best gifts I could ever want, when I had big birthday parties with all my family and friends around, when more people visited the station bearing gifts and warm tidings, when the day fell on a day-off and I could spend it with loved ones — I could think of so many birthdays that qualify literally as “better” birthdays. This year definitely pales in comparison. It’s probably down there in the bottom of the totem pole as far as rankings are concerned. I spent last night, the eve of my birthday with my closest friends, and I’ll spend tomorrow night, the day after my birthday, with my family. But today, on the actual day of my birth, I’ll be spending most of it alone. But you know what, despite the low key celebrations, this is strangely my most quietly happy birthday of all. I don’t know how to put it into words. I’m not giddy happy, or hysterical happy, or laugh-out-loud happy, or smile-all-day happy, or I-can’t-believe-how-lucky-I-am-happy…I’m just happy. My type of people are never good with happy. We’re largely suspicious of it, we secretly think it’s merely a prelude to sad, and we always think it’s mainly fleeting and superfluous. Sad, on the other hand, is dramatic, and deep, and profound, and lingers around for years. So it’s quite strange that I feel very still, and very pensive but in a good way, and most of all, the pervading feeling that’s engulfing me right now…is the feeling of GRATITUDE.
An officemate asked me earlier what my birthday wish was, and for the life of me, I couldn’t think of anything more that I could want. Obviously I could come up with a million and one things I wouldn’t mind having — like winning the lotto or owning my own beach resort in Palawan — but for this moment, I realize, “I’m good.” If life were a meal, for the first time in my life, after decades of ravenous, insatiable hunger, I feel quite satisfied. Don’t get me wrong, because I still want things, but not having them yet won’t take anything away from what I have now. Things could be better. It would be nice if my Dad’s still around. It would be nice if our family’s complete. It would be nice if I were financially secure. It would be nice if I didn’t have my recurring headaches. It would be nice if none of my loved ones had any health concerns. But on the other hand, I finally found love that had eluded me since birth, I have family and friends around me, I have a great job that I love doing 18 years strong, I have a roof above my head, I get to travel every now and then, I go diving and indulge in photography, and the “happy” list goes on much longer than the “sad” list. It’s weird…I’m not HAPPY happy, I’m happy happy.
So after posting this, I’ll de-clog my cell phone (I ran out of memory because of all the texts I received since this morning) and text back all the lovely family and friends who took time to text me a happy birthday, then I’ll probably take a nap, wake up to groom our shmooshy Yorkie, Cairo, and probably try and clean up our room of the remaining clutter. After dinner, I’ll go to the cats and feed them and groom them, then back home to sleep so I’ll be rested when I wake up to get to work tomorrow morning. It’s not the high life, but it’s my life. And I love it.