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When I was a kid, birthdays were fun time because of all the gifts you'd get.
It was also a blast to get the homemade cakes, which my mother would design in the shape of something I was obsessing about that year (one birthday it was a Rat Fink cake, the next it was a cake shaped like a typewriter).
Later, birthdays served as a bizarre sort of test: who would remember my birthday? Who cared enough to send a card? (One friend of mine always calls me on September 23, while another, from England, sends me a card clearly marked on the envelope, "Not to be opened until October 23," as though it were some sort of secret document).
The reason I raise these points is because today is my 54th birthday. Birthdays have always been special to me because they are the one day in the year when you can, selfishly and without guilt, celebrate yourself.
My boss often makes fun of the fact that I never work on my birthday – "Is it some kind of national holiday?" she says – but I have stuck by my guns and taken the day off to do what I want to do. One year, I went to the movies in the middle of the day with my dad; another (and this) year, I flew to San Francisco to visit my older brother and his family. Some years, I just write and hang out.
It is my day.
But I am touched this year by the extensive birthday salutations that I have received. I guess I must be doing something right to have so many people to wish me well. Thank you all – and happy Tom Day (or happy Your Day if this happens to be your birthday).
October 23, 2010