Cause for Celebration

My birthday when my friends James and Jolene made goodie bags and a custom t-shirt that read “Megan Cole: Making Shit Happen Since 1985”

Sunday is my birthday.

That’s what I told the woman working at the butcher shop yesterday when she asked what I was doing for the long weekend. And of course, she followed-up by asked, “what are you doing for your birthday?” And in response I offered a blank stare.

For many years I had BIG birthday celebrations. Maybe it was to make up for the fact that growing up, despite best efforts to throw big birthday parties, it was often a small gathering of friends doing things to beat the August heat. My dad would load us into The Toaster (aka my family’s GMC Safari), and head off to Durance Lake, which was just a short drive from our house. We’d swim and float and dive until our fingers were pruned and we were hungry. Sleepovers were a necessary part of birthdays.

My 23rd birthday

In my 20s I threw myself big parties. I’d make reservations at Vancouver restaurants. We’d go out dancing and finish the night at Denny’s eating plates of French Fries and bacon. I have so many good memories of celebrating my birthdays in Vancouver, even though almost always they resulted in daylong and sometimes multiday hangovers, I would dance until my feet ached and laughed until my cheeks hurt.

The pandemic has caused a bit of a pull back. And I don’t mean this in a bad way. What I mean is more of shift and a smaller approach to living. In the past year, I’ve focused on small things: Hikes with friends, watching the sunrise spread over the mountains on Vancouver Island as I make my morning coffee, getting to know our neighbours as we do our morning walks. In the past I’ve had years where I’ve struggled to celebrate my birthday because I have those pessimistic moments where I think “Well, what the hell do I have to be thankful for.” The answer, regardless of my nihilistic mood, is everything.

In my 20s I thought big birthday parties, grand gestures, huge outpourings of love and affection were everything, but as I settle into my mid-30s, I’m going to take time to appreciate all the small things that have made the past year wonderful. I’m going to take time to celebrate myself in quiet ways because I’m learning that’s beautiful too. To be reflective, to be still, to be mindful aren’t just good fodder for quotes shared and reposted on social media, they keep us moving in uncertain times.


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