Tuesday, 29 December 2015

An "Out of Her Skin" Optimist's Guide to Her Birthday

Optimism doesn't come easily to me. I prefer to think of myself as a "cynical realist" combined with a hint of wondrous faith when the unexplainable occurs. But I find myself leading a lonely existence in today's overindulgent age of "feel-good" mantras, positive affirmation statements, unsolicited mental health advice, and generally junk science studies on how optimism can lead to longer lifespans. What's a generally cranky curmudgeonly bitch supposed to do in a such a world?

But, it is my birthday and I have been feeling the love all day long, so I will step out of my aforementioned comfort zone and give you my optimistic view of the world for this one specific day. Hey. If you can't live it up on your birthday then when can you?

There are some really great things about birthdays, mostly of the free and discounted variety. I was absolutely feeling the love from the barista at Starbucks when she handed over my complimentary soy mocha frappuccino light. (I even sprung for the more highly caloric grande! What the hell.) And I knew that it must be my special day when the Blue Jays shop sent me a code offering 15% off my next purchase. I must be spending way too much cash on my boys of summer for them to offer up a birthday discount, but loyalty is loyalty and mine is being rewarded.

I have to love a day when even the most ardent of meat eaters will acquiesce to lunch at a vegan restaurant in order to make me happy. It is even more incredible that they actually enjoyed their meals. A birthday miracle on par with the virgin birth.

The best gifts are the most thoughtful; like the chef's knives that my mother purchased for me months ago without knowing that I had been secretly plotting to abscond with hers, or The Husband replacing my Roots purse that literally fell apart from overuse. (I am not a big purse lover, but I missed this one desperately.)

Did you know that Herbie the Love Bug was number 53, the same as my age this year? I had forgotten until The Husband reminded me and decided that it would be hysterical for him to call me his "Little Love Bug" for the year. (My kids might call this a "dad joke".) I think that I would rather he call me Herbie than suffer that indignity.

The interwebs have an incredible way of making one feel loved even if it takes only a minute to comment. Facebook is great for this. My feed has been jammed all days with virtual cards, messages, flowers, and photos. It is kind of amazing how taking just a moment out of one's day to express felicitations can alter the recipient's mood. Little things like this really matter, even to a cynical realist.

End of the year birthdays tend to get lost in the hustle and bustle of the holidays. Who wants to brave a store for something as trivial as a birthday gift when the other December events have simply drained one of a year's quota of enthusiasm? We who were born at the end of a calendar year are used to feeling like a bit of an afterthought. But, today that simply wasn't the case. The sun was shining, the temperatures were grand, the people were smiling, and the caring and consideration was abundant from all. Days like today remind me of a favourite line from a favourite film.

Clarence: Remember, George: No man is a failure who has friends. (It's a Wonderful Life 1946)

Thanks for the birthday love. Tomorrow, I return to my cranky, cynical self. Well....maybe.

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