Who Wants to Come to My Birthday Party?

By Beacon Staff

It’s my birthday on Saturday. Woo hoo! In reality, the occasion is not what it once was. This year, there will be no cake or noisemakers, though I haven’t ruled out wearing a funny hat. You never know about these things. But I do plan to have fun. I’m heading down to Missoula to attend the River City Roots Festival, a downtown music gathering. I will meet up with a friend and perhaps bring a friend or two, along with my dog and guitar. With my birthday, however, comes the end of summer.

Birthdays have always been bittersweet for me. Growing up, they signaled summer’s final days and the beginning of school. So my birthday parties consisted of a bunch of melancholy kids staving off depression as menacing teachers loomed on the horizon. Sometimes I think my peers were actually angry that my birthday had arrived. “Why don’t you just stay 12 and let’s start summer over!” Today, in the working world, summer has a slightly different meaning. While my workload won’t noticeably increase, the fun of August is still on its last leg. And I love August, as I wrote about last year in a blog.

So here I am, staring down 24 and wondering if that extra year really means anything. It’s an anticlimactic age: 18 brought legal privileges, as did 21. When I turn 25, I will qualify for reduced car insurance rates. But 24 is just another number, just another year. Perhaps I’ll feel blessed with the wisdom of maturity and touched by the hand of intellect, though this is doubtful.

I can’t speak for my co-worker, Beacon photographer Lido Vizzutti, whose birthday is tomorrow, but Saturday will most likely be just another day to me. Friends and family, however, will persistently remind me that, no, it’s not just another day and, yes, I should feel an explosive sense of self-importance. So I’ll try to feel more important than the people around me, when in reality I’ll probably feel a little closer to cheaper car insurance and not much else. But like I said, I plan to have fun. And that’s what really matters, isn’t it?

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