I turned 38 a few days ago. For the first time in over 25 years, I willingly tried to celebrate my birthday. I hung out with a friend and attended a concert. It was by far the most immersive birthday I've had since... maybe Grade 6.
Oftentimes in the past, when my birthday would approach, my parents, friends, or spouse would ask me, "What do you want to do for your birthday?" And I would say, "Nothing." And if they proposed something, I would fight it. "I don't want a birthday party," I'd say. Once, perhaps 10 years ago when we lived in Hope, I tried to get over myself and let my wife arrange a birthday for me, but I myself didn't really market it seriously. It was a long time ago, so the memory is faint, but I don't think anybody came. And that was ok with me, but not quite with my wife, who had put real energy into it. I haven't even imagined even trying to celebrate a birthday since then.
And I don't know if I'll bother again for any time soon. This year, that was enough. It was astoundingly difficult, even in such a low-key setting, to handle the attention, the self-maintaining goal to "take care of myself" by celebrating my existence for once. I had a good time, but it drained me, and when it was over I crashed into a rather embarrassing sadness-spiral that could only be slightly endured after a counselling call. I'm glad I did it, but I don't think I'll try it again next year. (Although my birthday does take place on a Saturday next year, so I could very easily go back on my current sentiments.)
Shutterfly sends me occasional updates about photos, saying "Do you remember __ years ago?" usually showing family photos from a given week. Today, Shutterfly sent me some photos, saying "Remember four years ago?" They were photos of my kids when we still lived in Harrison Hot Springs, in our last month living there before we moved to Chilliwack. And I looked and I thought four years? It's only been four years? Because that feels like forever ago. So much has happened: my family fell apart, my kids moved away, I've been working through the usual rigmarole of divorce.
And I've barely written a song. The songs I have written seem hackneyed and trite, nothing like the quality that I maintained 13 years ago. My emotions are caught-up in adultish issues: budgets, debt, paperwork, appointments, parenting, phone calls, workplace balance, driving, car maintenance, etc.. There are people who can write emotionally despite these life-themes, but I haven't been able to do it. As much as I want to find the poetry in these sorts of common events, the words, the melodies, have eluded me, or I haven't been able to muster the energy to approach them.
Until this weekend, when I think I assembled a few words that reflected an actual feeling. Although I've written emotional songs in the last decade, very few of them discussed feelings that were close to my heart at a given moment. They're the sorts of emotions that might be considered "youthful," insofar as they deal with some intense feelings that one feels deep to their core. I'm not going to write the words here because I'm still working on them, but I'm kinda' excited, hoping that I can get a ball rolling in a manner that's creatively viable.
In other news: I've accepted a part in a play, my first play since I acted in A Flea In Her Ear with the Chilliwack Players' Guild. I'm excited about it. I've worked with most of these cast members before, either in Jitters or A Flean in her Ear. It's a musical comedy and I have to sing a song. Costumes should be ridiculous. More info forthcoming.
Also, I might start working a bit with a small company that's hoping to make videos and music in-house in Chilliwack. This is good because it will give me a chance to practice and perfect things I've never really worked with before. And finally, for the first time since I lived in Victoria, I might be able to work with people to create music and art again. Most of my attempted musical collaborations have fallen apart over the last bunch of years, but this one's got some potential because people want to be professionals in a low-key enough way that I might be able to make my life work with it. Woo hoo!
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