Looking back on the birthday celebrations I've had over the past 12 years that I've lived in this area, I see how the changes in the celebrations reflect changes in my social life. Early in my time here, someone asked me what I was planning to do for my birthday, and I said, "Stay home and wait for the phone to ring." I was expecting a lot of calls from out of town family and friends. At the time, I had not yet established a life here, but had strong ties to people from the places where I have lived in the past.
Some years later, I spent my birthday out frolicking in the park with a group of friends. I thought back on that earlier birthday, and thought of how now I had found a vibrant social life here.
Some years after that my birthday was largely ignored by people around here, though I did get a few of those phone calls from out of town people. At the time, I was feeling unpopular, and the lack of recognition my birthday got from local people reflected that situation.
This year's birthday celebrations demonstrated how my life has come back into balance. My life is no longer focused exclusively on local people or out of town people. I received birthday greetings from all directions: family, co-workers, a local friend, a college friend, a friend I met here but who now lives elsewhere, someone at the radio station. Greetings came from local people, as well as from Florida, Washington DC, New England, and Taiwan. I celebrated all month long. Two people remembered the month but not the date, so they got their birthday greetings in toward the beginning of the month. On my actual birthday, I had a picnic and a concert with family members. Yesterday I had what I think is probably the last of the month-long celebrations: strawberries and ice cream with Jesse. (Strawberries and lilacs are my personal birthday traditions.)
I like the way my birthday turned out this year, and it's a good reflection of where my life is currently at.