October 22, 2012

For My Birthday, I'd Like A Midlife Crisis

For easily the last 18 months, I've had this idea in my head about how I wanted to celebrate my 35th birthday.  I had this fear that my wish would go the way of my 32nd, which I wanted to be my saccharine 32 since I had a sweet 16.  Alas, time, money, and circumstance kept that from becoming a reality.  Which is really too bad.  I mean, I could have kept Deb in business with all the pseudo prom dress sales that would have come out of that.  However, celebrating my mid life crisis with a living wake seems like it's going to be a thing.

Now, if you're like 90% of the population, you're going to screw up your face and say one of two things; what a creepy idea, or that's the most egotistical thing I've ever heard.  To which, I offer these two rebuttals.  First, yes it might be creepy.  My birthday is so close to Halloween that I've always had a themed party.  What could be more fitting of a Halloween party than a funeral?

Most importantly though, I want to address the thinking that this is an exercise in stroking my own ego.  Sure, some of that will probably happen.  Especially since I've asked for people to "eulogize" me.  However, my purpose is simply to take the pulse of my reality and the relationships I have with the people in it.

How often have each of us come across a situation where, had we known the truth long before, we could have changed the course of events?  I only learned in the last year or so that someone I had a gigantic high school crush on shared the same sorts of feelings.  The only reason nothing ever came of it was because we both believed the other to be out of our league. 

After learning this latest in a string of "I had no idea!" moments, I decided I didn't want to let that happen again if I could do anything to help it.  I mean, statistically, at 35, I'm at about the half-way point.  Maybe less if I have some horrible accident, or have some goofy genetic disorder I know nothing about.  I've spent many years being clueless about life, the people around me, and how it all works together.  Truthfully, I don't have it all figured out.  I wing it as much as the next guy.  Sometimes, hearing how that affects others is good for me.

So, I'm throwing a party and asking anyone with anything to say to show up, step up, and air it out.  If it means that I leave feeling either a foot or so taller because of the praise, or with a notebook full of things I need to work on, I'll be able to call the night a success.  What I'm after is to hear what people are too afraid to say.  Death seems to be a vehicle that allows a person to be candid.  I'm hoping that asking for an evening of make believe, my guests will come along with me on this journey and discover that honesty really is the best policy.

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