I got exactly what I wanted for my seventieth birthday— a complete stealth event.
It’s funny that I don’t mind standing on a stage talking to audiences, but a bunch of waiters singing the birthday song is for me a form of torture. I guess maybe it’s because a lecture is about the subject and the birthday stuff is about me, and I really do not like being the center of attention.
I had asked Dan not to do anything to call it to the attention of anyone on board, as I truly did not want any fanfare. A lot of times people say that but don’t really mean it, so I could see he was a little perplexed as to what kind of “don’t do anything” this was. Fortunately, several repetitions over several days did the trick, and indeed our celebration was a toast over dinner for two.
I was a little worried that the manifest would have passport details, so anyone with access to our information could have picked up on the situation but fortunately no one did. So I am now sailing into a new year, literally, and completely on my own terms.
For me my seventieth doesn’t signify anything relevant. I don’t hear the ticking clock of time particularly loudly on birthdays, nor do I feel “one year older.” It didn’t even occur to me to take a picture at dinner to commemorate the occasion.
People who don’t feel as buoyed up and carried along by the wonderful opportunity to exist in this precious world as I do may have more need for days of acknowledgment. Maybe it’s about how much one likes and feels appreciated the rest of the year. Gifts and dinners can’t more than temporarily offset the negativity when relationships are bad, nor for me do they add much to relationships that are good
For me, yesterday was best celebrated by treating it as just another day in a life blessed with adventures, imagination, curiosity, and opportunities to grow. I get 365 days a year of that, year in and year out. What song or candles on a cake can compete with that?