Happy Birthday To Me

  • Posted on: 26 April 2014
  • By: Shawn DeWolfe

Today, I am 46 years old.

Birthdays carry a lot of angst. I have a few accounting days every year-- days where I take personal stock. New Years is a obvious one, the calendar turns over. My birthday is another because the odometer turns over. If I am not healthier or richer, it makes the prior year seem bad. I have tried to take solace that I am doing better than many. I don't want to be better than someone else. I am grateful that my health crisis is fat; I am sad that even though it's so fixable, I have not been able to fix it. I am grateful that I have a roof over my head, but I am sad that I am in a town well represented by tire-kickers and people with half-baked plans; and the capacity to be self-flipping turtles.

Every year, around February my family starts to ask, "What can we get you for your birthday?" I have two answers. The one I tell them is often, "nothing." But here's what I really want:

When I say, "nothing" I mean: you have to get your own finances in order; save time and just don't go get anything. Things are encumbrance. A few weeks ago, we moved a metric tonne of stuff to the dump. A tonne. At some point it made sense to have that stuff. At some point it was important to bring it here. I remember looking out from our apartment window in 1976 to see hippies moving in across the street: three garbage bags apiece they were moved in. That seemed great. When I am asked "what do you want?" I hear it as, "I need to encumber you. You can suggest what I will encumber you with."

Nothing didn't fly. For a while, I would ask for "peace of mind." That pissed off all of my family. I soon learned that the "peace of mind" request brought discord. It also brought presents I didn't ask for. I really value presents. I will actually hold onto presents and cards until they wear out. A present or a card is like one of those chalk line traps they throw demons into-- I should be able to disregard them, but I cannot.

I was asking for donations to the SPCA in lieu of gifts. That worked until the SPCA fund raising engine kicked into action. I was inundated with requests for more money; and pictures of sad cats. I did some quick math and the SPCA likely spent more to keep me reeled in that they got from me. If I didn't donate, they wouldn't have to spend that on me. I eventually stopped asking for SPCA donations.

Truth be told: I do want stuff. I want (in no particular order):
  • Stability for my family (esp. the extended family).
  • Time. Time to exercise. Time with friends. Time to just do nothing. When I say, "I want nothing" I sometimes mean literally that.
  • I want a Chrysler Crossfire.
  • I want a big pick-up truck. More than that, I want to not have to see it 320+ days per year-- I want no one to ask me to move their crap my phantom truck.
  • I want a kayak.
  • I want a dining room off the ass end of the house.
  • I want a drum room under the new dining room.
  • I want a second bathroom before my daughter's make-up needs collide with my IBS. (est. impact, May 2015-- it'll be a treat).
  • I want a store room under the deck to hold our encumbrance, as well as wine-making and beer-making space.
  • I want to go to Europe. Please don't mention Europe in my presence. It's a sore point. Every time I hand someone a Europe's worth of money, I say to myself, "I could've gone to Europe with that money."
  • I want to go to Japan (see above).
  • I want to go to New York (see above).
  • I want to go to India, but I know I'd regret it. I think if I could go in a space suit, I would be okay, but that's wrong on so many levels. If you don't believe me, ask Russell Peters what he thinks.
  • I want someone to handle my finances-- just the literal pieces, like where the receipts are and how to input the tax stuff.
  • I want someone to share some of my links for me. Other people can cajole links, I always appreciate the same.
  • I want a big TV. Stupid big.
  • I want an RC drone
  • I want a Go-Pro camera.
  • I want a working 3D printer.
  • I don't want to be fat (yep-- gimme those Adipose things, I'm good with the side effects). I finally weaned people off giving me food as a gift.

For a while, I got people into gift card mode for the home renos-- I should hire someone, but at some point, I could take over and do a chunk (flooring, lighting, etc.). Asking for presents to chip down a $40k expense is a depressing prospect. Getting 5% of the reno paid when I don't get the rest is like getting 5% of a puppy in the mail. Nothing leaves one more despondent than working like crazy only to fall short, making the effort for naught and goal unaccomplished.

This year, I have my health (enough of it). So, let's just say I don't need anything more.
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Last updated date

Friday, September 29, 2017 - 01:50