Adopting traditions for my birthday

I turned 33 yesterday. Not a particularly noteworthy age, but the universe converged to allow me to have dinner with two old friends that I haven’t seen in a while. So it was a good, quiet way to celebrate.

One of these friends included me in a tradition that his circle of friends keeps: on your birthday, you must identify the best thing about the last year and the worst thing about the last year. There is nothing novel or revolutionary about this exercise, but it was something I’d never done before. And in answering the question, my attitude turned a little sideways in a much needed way.

The worst part of the last year was the uncertainty leading up to our move out to Vancouver. We had decided we wanted to move; we picked Vancouver because I was likely to be able to keep my job. Except that I couldn’t get a straight answer out of anyone about when I could go or what I would be doing. Many a dark hour until I got a straight answer, booked the movers, and started packing in earnest.

The best part of the last year was much harder to pin down. In a year filled with new surroundings, new activities, and welcome incidental lifestyle changes, settling on the highest point is tough. So my answer was getting to see They Might Be Giants in a smallish venue. They opened the show with the song I’d had in my head all day, and then played the entirety of Flood, my favourite of their albums. To top it off, they finished up with an encore of my favourite sequence of mini-songs from Apollo 18. But many other experiences crowded into honorable mention, and today, I want to change my answer. But I won’t.

I’ve been restless lately. Feeling a bit directionless and out of touch. But maybe it’s just been a failure to take stock of all the wonderful people I interact with, and of the events and activities that fill my days. More dissatisfaction is ahead of me: I’m not sure I’m built to be content for long. But I’ll take this past year with its highs and lows. See what we can’t find in the next one.