Technically my birthday is not until tomorrow but I was born on Labor Day so I am starting my annual noncelebration today.
My way of commemorating my birthday involves my version of angst. I draw within myself and think about the twelve months just ending. I reflect on my successes, try to let go of my failures, and remember every little act of kindness bestowed on me. I close my eyes and release the slights. I forgive.
A car just raced by, seven a.m. and already impatient. I wonder what the driver considers sufficiently important to exceed the posted speed limit by ten or fifteen miles past the houses in which people still sleep, oblivious to small dangers. It wasn’t a police car, or a fire department supervisor. Late for work? On Labor Day? More likely just someone unconcerned with the safety of any stray children who might dart down their driveway after a rolling ball. I shake my head.
We’re careless of each other, we humans. We live within the tiny limits of our feeble imaginations. We cringe when challenged, mock each other, and invent new words for one another’s treachery.
But I’m done with smallness.
I’m weeding out the flotsam and jetsam of six decades. I threw away old love letters and faded newspaper articles. I culled out eight coffee mugs to keep and only the smallest of table cloths, including among them a sweet blue and white which belonged to my mother. I’m down to two or three pairs of serviceable shoes and soon enough, my cohort in garage-sale planning will haul away boxes of dishes which I never use. Good riddance to the lot.
I’ll strike a few emotions from the list of useless baggage: Annoyance, and reluctance, and regret. I’ll light a match to the pile of photographs in which I wore such unsuspecting smiles. I’ll follow the smoke as it rises to the heavens, to my watching ancestors, to the gods of all things worldly and all things divine.
Then I’ll buy a new broom with stiff clean straw and sweep the cobwebs from the corners.
Another year begins. Maybe this will be my year. Maybe when the sun rises on my sixty-second birthday, a scant twenty-three hours from now, I’ll see the way.
It’s the fourth day of the forty-fifth month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.