Thursday, August 03, 2006

THE BIRTHDAY RULES


One with nature, originally uploaded by Santosh Korthiwada.



1. BE HAPPY. It's practically a law. Even the most wretched person on earth is required to take a day off from the pursuit of misery on their birthday. Not only will your family and friends feel compelled to remind you of your duty to the gods of happiness, but even perfect strangers will get into the act. On catching sight of your birthdate, clerks will stop everything and order you to be happy! Now! And if you find yourself in a restaurant, don't be surprise if a coven of otherwise normal wait people surround you, holding a tiny flame in their hands, and singing an ode to your happiness.

2. BE WISE because happiness is a capricious thing; and if you're not a little bit wise, you probably won't be all that happy either. Sure, it's YOUR day and you're supposed to enjoy it, but if you expect Happiness to behave in a certain way, it will squirm out of your arms as quickly as a recalcitrant two year old. In the end, the happiness paradox is the same on your birthday as it is on every day: If you want it, you've got to give it to someone else. Yep--even on your birthday.

3. BE GRATEFUL for the gifts you got, and even more so for the ones you didn't need to get. Be grateful for the people who remembered your birthday, and love the ones who forgot. If you're old, take time to be grateful and amazed by all the lives you contain. Celebrate the entwined mysteries of fragility and strength. And if you're young, go outside and shout down the stars. It's your world.

But above all, be grateful for your happiness, however worn and misshapen and imperfect it might be. It is yours. When it appears at the door in its artful disguise, take care never to turn it away.



I got this quote in my inbox yesterday. It seemed like the perfect birthday reminder.

“You are younger today than you will ever be again. Make use of it for the sake of tomorrow.”

– Norman Cousins

32 comments:

marja-leena said...

This is a the perfect birthday reminder! And is it your birthday, Patry? If so, have an extra Happy One!

paris parfait said...

Wise words. If it was your birthday, Bonne Anniversaire, as the French say - they don't demand happiness, just a "good" birthday. :)

chiefbiscuit said...

Happy Birthday - it's the only day you don't have to share with anyone else (unless you're a twin!)

Richard Lawrence Cohen said...

Happy birthday! And thanks for the consistently well written, witty, insightful, entertaining, individualistic, beautifully illustrated short essays that you share with the world for free.

Todd said...

Have a happy birthday!

MB said...

Happy birthday, Patry! That's a beautiful photograph and I hope it captures some of what you feel on your day — such joy! Thanks for all the joy you offer all of us with your writing. May your new year bring you much love and exciting literary adventures!

Brenda said...

Happiness on a Happy Birthday Day! How beautiful! Enjoy all the blessings and more! Hugs xo

Sara said...

Felicitations, Patry! I am so glad you were born, and that you are still here.

Tarakuanyin said...

Happy birthday to you.

Simply Coll said...

I love birthdays.. both mine and others. For me it is a gentle reminder of the celebration of life.

Sky said...

Happy Birthday, Patry!

I wish you wonderful journeys, love to keep you company as you travel through your year, good health, and happiness always!

:) Sky

robin andrea said...

Happy birthday, Patry! Hope you had a wonderful day. August 3rd is Roger's birthday too. He tried to follow all of these rules, and did very well.

Kerstin said...

What a wonderful quote! Does this mean it is your birthday? You are a Leo if I remember correctly? In which case I will say as the Germans do: Hearty congratulations on your birthday/Herzlichen Glueckwunsch zum Geburtstag, Patry!

Natalie said...

I'm late to see this Patry but it's such good advice I'll hang on to it for my birthday which is August 7th. I hope yours was as joyful as that photo and I'm sure all those who shared the day with you were happy in your presence. Have a wonderful year.

Patry Francis said...

Thank you all for the beautiful comments and wishes. They truly mean a lot.

Tamar said...

Sorry I got to this so late!! What a great way to celebrate your birthday though - and share it with us as well.
A very Happy belated birthday wish from me!

Amishlaw said...

So, you're a Leo, too. Happy birthday. Your birthday rules are my rules to live by every day, although mine had not previously included "Be Wise," and I have an additional one, "Let it Go." I've got one of the milestone birthdays coming up in a couple of weeks. It's really hard to be happy about it, but it beats the alternative.

tinker said...

Happy Birthday! or Happy UnBirthday! (whichever applies) - thank you for outlining the rules with such wit and wisdom. Have a wonderful day, Patry!

chuck said...

Hope it is a great, new year for you...these are the good, old days!

Wenda said...

Patry, Wishing you all the best in your new year along with belated birthday wishes.

rdl said...

Happy, Happy Birthday!!!!!!! I owe you one!!! you name it!!!

Fred Garber said...

Patry.....a belated happy birthday!....

Darius said...

It is possible to be wise and not happy - unless you redefine happiness in an arbitrary way.

This is because there are some physical afflictions that are, literally, terribly painful and retrictive. However, even these can finally be borne with inner strength and peace. We can come to terms with them.

The kind of peace that we find then isn't happiness, but I think is fundamental to it. And it's essential to being sane.

And if one way or another, you come into that sort of peace, and your circumstances are less than hell on earth, then you are happy.

Becca said...

wonderful words ... happy birthday!

Lorna said...

Just getting caught up, so my birthday wishes are belated but heart-felt. Those are good rules, and I'm going to apply them to other days than birthdays.

Cliff said...

I feel bad that I caught on so late. Happy Birthday Paltry. You know I'm a fan, and I cannot wait to get my hands on your new book. I wish you all the best for your birthday!

Marilyn said...

Sorry I'm late to the party...got caught up in work this week. Belated Birthday wishes. And I love the idea of "It's YOUR world." Enjoy it! :)

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Sarah Jo said...

Happy birthday! And thanks for the consistently well written, witty, insightful, entertaining, individualistic, beautifully illustrated short essays that you share with the world for free.

Viagra Online said...

Yes sir I will follow your rules step by step xD!
Thanks, nice post +10

Austin Pueschel said...

make sure that you have everything you want picked out! you MUST get gifts on your bday. :)

Howard said...

This is awesome!