Happy Birthday to Me!

zara red hair avatar - happy bday to me

Happy Birthday to Me!

01.06.2014

By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez / @ZaraAlexis

When I was a kid I wanted nothing more than to “grow up,” get older, and move on with my life, speed it up a little to the pace that belonged to adulthood. And then adulthood came and it was a lot harder than I had expected. Since then, I’ve been subconsciously regressing each year of my life, not trying to emulate youth, but to preserve the best parts of it—with maturity.

And now with two children, aging has become less graceful as I once believed it to be, but rather a sharp reminder and ticking countdown of the remainder of days I have left before my life passport expires. While it’s often a miracle and a joy to witness the ever-changing nuances of my children, it’s in each passing milestone that I’m reminded of my limited time with them—that one day I won’t be around.

Age does that to you, too: reality (and the Grim Reaper) gives you a slight tap on the shoulder that may sometimes leave a trace of cynicism. But, I’m not there yet—though I have often shown signs of aging like:

  • discovering gray hair in places I never thought would be gray hair…like my eyebrows
  • not recognizing the artists and musicians featured on the MTV Awards
  • comfortable singing along to a 70’s track—and then realizing the radio station is simply featuring an “Oldie, But Goodie” tribute to the 70’s
  • discovering an impatience and deep irritation to teenagers’ “antics” like loud bravado, incessant cursing, and “strange” fashion choices
  • an inability to stay past 1:00 a.m. without complete exhaustion
  • a lack of interest in “partying” as opposed to “relaxing and staying in”
  • a heightened sensitivity to loud noise
  • nausea when riding a roller coaster
  • tracking physical ailments in order to have a clear, medical history—for the next physical ailment expected to come along
  • squinting even with prescribed eyeglasses on
  • forgetfulness…often
  • the need to write almost everything down to curb that forgetfulness
  • crows’ feet (and the one’s I’m talking about aren’t on crows)
  • permanent callouses regardless of how much ointment and creams I use, or how many pedicures I have
  • consideration and concerns about pension, life insurance, early retirement, and my will
  • reminiscing and nostalgia as a popular pastime
  • a great disdain for misspelled words, an insurgence of online acronyms, and the loss or dying art of letter-writing and natural penmanship
  • genuine surprise when your children begin to refer to you as “old”
  • a predisposition to “complaining” and “self-pity”

***

Well, the good news is…I’m not dead…yet!

And a great consequence of having a birthday is celebrating it. Because my actual birthday falls on a weekday this year, my husband treated my immediate family to lunch on the weekend. And food, especially great food, has always brought my family together for some festive fun.

Spoonful Restaurant. (c) Photo by Esly R. Alvarez. All rights reserved.
Spoonful Restaurant. (c) Photo by Esly R. Alvarez. All rights reserved.

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Happy birthday to me. (c) Photo by Esly R. Alvarez. All rights reserved.
Happy birthday to me. (c) Photo by Esly R. Alvarez. All rights reserved.

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Michael excited to try the Spoonful menu for the very first time. (c) Photo by Esly R. Alvarez. All rights reserved.
Michael excited to try the Spoonful menu for the very first time. (c) Photo by Esly R. Alvarez. All rights reserved.

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Xara ready for her first plate. (c) Photo by Esly R. Alvarez. All rights reserved.
Xara ready for her first plate. (c) Photo by Esly R. Alvarez. All rights reserved.

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So glad it's buffet. There's more where this came from. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
So glad it’s buffet. There’s more where this came from. (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

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And now for dessert! (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
And now for dessert! (c) Photo by Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

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Michael enjoying fries. (c) Photo by Esly R. Alvarez. All rights reserved.
Michael enjoying fries. (c) Photo by Esly R. Alvarez. All rights reserved.

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Michael and Elias playing. (c) Photo by Esly R. Alvarez. All rights reserved.
Michael and Elias playing. (c) Photo by Esly R. Alvarez. All rights reserved.

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Thanks to my husband for hosting my birthday lunch. (c) Photo by Caesar S. Garcia. All rights reserved.
Thanks to my husband for hosting my birthday lunch. (c) Photo by Caesar S. Garcia. All rights reserved.

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Us on my birthday. (c) Photo by Caesar S. Garcia. All rights reserved.
Us on my birthday. (c) Photo by Caesar S. Garcia. All rights reserved.

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My family. (c) Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.
My family. (c) Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez. All rights reserved.

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A wonderful bonus to becoming a year older is also receiving gifts. Because my birthday is in January, it’s much like celebrating Christmas—twice! Thanks to Mom and Dad for fuzzy, leopard print slippers and a monetary gift to aid my shopping habit. The fuzzy slippers go perfectly with my leopard pants and are cozy to warm up in since our hardwood floors are so cold in the winter. Thanks to my sister, Riz, my brother-in-law, Joe, and Elias for my new Joshua Perets leopard print purse, a leopard print robe, and a Burt’s Bees lip balm and lotion set. The only thing I love almost as much as leopard printed things and nail polish are purses! And I’m privileged to own a Joshua Perets designer bag. As for the robe, I’m wearing it right now because it’s so soft and cozy.  And you’ve completely converted me to Burt’s Bees products. The replenishing, pomegranate lip balm is so smooth and 100% all-natural that I actually look forward to putting it on…and on…and on… Thanks so much, you guys. I love you—and my presents!

And because the day isn’t over yet, I look forward to celebrating again tonight with a special birthday dinner, cake, and more presents from my husband and the kids! (My daughter has been waiting to eat my birthday cake all weekend.)

Aside from that, I think I’ll be spoiling myself with a mani/pedi, a warm bath, a glass of wine, and a good book. In my “old” age, I’ve learned to enjoy the simplicity of things.

Thanks to all for taking the time out of your day to wish me well either in person, on the phone, or on Facebook and/or Twitter today. It’s especially nice to be thought of and remembered on your special day.

(Now, if I can only figure out which wish I’d like to make…)

***

What’s the most memorable birthday celebration you’ve ever had?

What’s the most thoughtful birthday present you’ve ever received?

What age do you think you’ve enjoyed the most or think you might enjoy the most?

***

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