Yesterday was my birthday. Well, not my real birthday. My pretend one. And my pretend birthday can really pop up at any time, when needed.
I used to love shopping at Byerly’s. The store in Minnetonka had a great bakery. They made little “birthday cake” cupcakes that were just delightful. I was checking out and the clerk passed the cupcakes over the scanner, smiling. “Is it your birthday?” she asked. I was about to say no, but she looked so happy, so I just went with it. “Yes!” I said. “Oh, Happy Birthday!” she said and sang. The carry-out man clapped his hands. The customer behind me cheered. It was all so joyful. Why not?!!!! I left the store feeling delightful.
Remembering that feeling, not often, but just when I really, really needed it, I would pull out that same trick. I’d put the birthday cake or cupcakes in the cart, and if the clerk didn’t notice, I might humbly say something like, “just treating myself for my birthday…” I didn’t always get the exuberant response, but there were always smiles, and usually singing.
Now, I’ve only done this a few times in my life, but yesterday, I was feeling the constraints of Covid, so I put on my birthday dress (a gift for my actual birthday this year – I mean the actual day I was born). Dominique, and the fishmonger were the only ones to see, but I felt special. I smiled inside. We barbecued the fish in the sun, pretended we were on vacation, and it was my birthday. I sang. I twirled. (It’s a good twirling dress!)
Not that long ago, I was at the dentist and I was choking. I asked him to stop. He said, “You’re not choking, it just feels like you’re choking.” What’s the difference, I thought. And so, too, it is with joy!!!! Yesterday, I started by pretending to be joyful, and soon forgot I was pretending. It just was joyful! Joy is joy – there is no difference.
So Happy Birthday, my friends! Sing, dance! I’m celebrating with you!