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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Friday, Sept. 19, 2014

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Don't like your birth date? Pick a new one.
Don't like your birth date? Pick a new one.

How to change your birthday

Over the weekend, a friend posted a picture on social media that was taken at her birthday dinner with the caption "Birthday drinks with the birthday girls."

In the photo, I was seated at the forefront, snuggled into a curved booth and flanked by four lovelies. The occasion was in fact, in celebration of two beautiful birthday girls. However, I was not one of them. 

I was tagged in this photo on Facebook and it has resulted in yet another episode of "everything happens for a reason." 

I have made both a verbal and internal wish to change my birth date for the last few years. I am part of a little club of humans whose birthdays exist on or are close to calendar holidays or what could be considered, overshadowing events. 

There are the people who get a dual celebratory energy being born on Christmas or Fourth of July. A tinseled six-foot tree and fireworks to crown your special day are kind of a cherry on top of the birthday sundae. Decorations and entertainment that are a bonus "gift with purchase."

However, there is the diametric double-birthday, where a more somber holiday or event falls on or around your birthday. A festivity of being born coupled with a national tragedy or personal loss has an undertone that is hard to overcome, no matter how positive or optimistic the person is. 

I fall into the later category. My brother passed away just two days before my actual birthday. The glow from a thousand candles cannot fully illuminate the darkness of having the anniversary of his departure so close to the celebration of my arrival.

September, the month that once brought the beauty of changing leaves and the anticipation of "doing something special for my birthday," now ushers clouds of memories that are difficult to escape no matter how many years pass or how hopeful the affirmations.

While I have never been one to throw a big celebration in honor of myself, this duality has forever changed the tone for a day that is supposed to be full of confetti and cake. 

And so, as I am a fighter and someone who believes in problem-solving, not problem-wallowing – it is with humor and good intentions I have blown out the candles each September 22 since and made my wish for a way to change my birthday to a completely different day and month so that the joy of the first bite of sugary frosting gritting between my teeth and tongue has a chance for sweetness once again.

Looks like I got what I wished for.

Moments after the "Birthday drinks with the birthday girls" photo was published, I started getting birthday wishes via social media, text, emails and phone calls. At first, I was a little startled and confused. And then I connected the dots and winked at the force at work. I clarified for anyone who specifically asked, but I also let the weekend play out. I basked in having my birthday in July. 

And I think I like it. This year, I accept this self-granted birth date as a big, fat, red, bow-adorned morsel of kismet, since it was exactly what I had asked for.

My dear ones whose birthdays I piggybacked on or hijacked: my gratitude is abundant for so graciously and generously accommodating me. For those who reached out – the kind messages have been nothing short of a bouquet of Mylar balloons, a 10-tiered cupcake display and a well-executed surprise fête. You have all given me a wonderful present – a re-birth or sorts, a new birthday. 

The icing on my new birthday cake was revealed quite literally a moment after I pushed send on the voice texted email I composed to myself while driving to record the idea for this blog. I set down my phone and reflexively turned on the radio.

The push of the power button unleashed the familiar upbeat tempo of The Beatles' song, "Birthday." My heart pounded as an uncontrollable smile poured over my face. I basked in sonic wonder. "They say it’s your birthday! It’s my birthday too, yeah."

Talkbacks

TosaJim | July 16, 2014 at 10:36 a.m. (report)

My birthday is December 30th...right after Christmas and just before New Years Eve...I guess my dad wanted a tax deduction for that year. I'm glad you solved your birthday problem...so..Happy July Birthday and may you have many more!

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