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Friday, September 16, 2005

Personal holidays

Most of us have calendars full of personal holidays - days that have deep significance to ourselves and a few other people, but are unknown to and irrelevant to most of the rest of the world. Birthdays, for example - well, birthdays have some significance in determining when we can and cannot legally smoke, drink, vote, have sex, get married, drive a car, rent a car, and so on. Anniversaries - April 5th has a relevance to me that it doesn't have to most people; September 13th is the polar opposite of September 11th for me. October 12th is both a friend's wedding anniversary and the anniversary of the Bali bombings.

I am terrible at remembering birthdays and anniversaries. And with more and more kids being born to people I know, and more and more of the people I know getting married, the task of remembering them all (and the guilt associated with not remembering them) is overwhelming to my poor little mathematically dyslexic brain.

Death has a way of bringing personal holidays to an end. My uncle died a month before his 33rd wedding anniversary, and a month and a week before his birthday. My father died one month before his birthday, and two months before my parents' 50th wedding anniversary. We still remember my grandmother's birthday, and she died seven years ago.

But without the person being physically present, it is just a commemoration, not a celebration. My father won't be blowing out any candles this year. My cousin's house won't be having a two-month cavalcade of birthday and anniversary cakes. My calendar has gotten a little emptier.

Here's to personal holidays. Celebrate them while you can.


anne said...

"Here's to personal holidays. Celebrate them while you can." - Very wise words indeed. Especially after a night of sitting with a sick relative...

A suggestion on the remembering personal holidays thing: I bought a smallish calendar that I write these things down in. I keep it in my desk. Even though it changes each year as to what day of the week something may fall on, I can still look at it and say "Oh, my niece's birthday is coming up." Plus I write down the year of the birth or wedding so I know how old or how long.

D.B. Echo said...

I had an idea for a business years ago for customized calendars. You would send in your list of personal holidays, and up to 12 pictures (one for each month), and you would get a calendar with your personal holidays already printed on it (and your own photos looking down at you each month). You could even turn it into a subscription service, with annual updates to add or delete personal holidays and replace photographs. These days most people can do something similar on their computers, so the business opportunity has passed. But I've got some other ideas...

betz said...

harold, you are right. we should all take this advice.

as for your idea...not as many people use computers daily as you think...tis still a solid idea. :)