Wednesday, December 28, 2005

the morning after

As is only befitting my currently nauseated and hungover condition, I poured half a bottle of fish sauce down my leg while semi-consciously muddling about in the kitchen. I'm hungover because yesterday was my birthday. And after an evening of dry martinis and some experimental moves on the dance floor, I finished off the night huddled around a tray of tacos at 2 am with some of my dearest friends. The causal effect of which is that I now smell horribly bad.

Having my birthday mid-holiday season used to really suck. When I was younger, no one was around to celebrate it and if they were, no one remembered or cared. The Christmas frenzy generally drove all other thoughts out of their yet undeveloped pea brains. Even my family had to struggle to pretend like they cared. There was always a ring of hollowness about the whole affair, the two-for-one gifting being only one of the many letdowns. But now if I had to choose I wouldn't have my birthday any other way. Mainly because it truly touches me when my friends do remember to call or write. You really know who your friends are at times like these. We are all busy and preoccupied with our own lives, our own families, and as we get older I think it gets harder to have the same emotional energy left over to think of someone else at this time of year.

It's difficult to pinpoint when this change takes place, but at a certain time, Christmas stops being Christmas and birthdays stop being birthdays. Instead you start to feel like they are just days like any other and the only thing that really differentiates them are as memories, memories of shared times. This makes it hard to live in the moment. Instead, the moment is already being thought as something that will later be remembered, sometimes even before it takes place.

This is not the way that I want to live. But it's hard to experience the holidays in any other way. It is just a time for the production of memory--good memories perhaps, but nonetheless based on a hyperconsciousness of time passing. We are constantly on the move, moving from producing one memory to the next, and if we're lucky we'll even remember them. How do you stop time and truly experience a moment? Can't we just learn to be content with right now?

As the new year quickly approaches I would like to suggest that we allow ourselves to get excited about things again like when we were little. Allow ourselves to look forward to the new year, the next step, the unknown, and stop second guessing ourselves, or preparing ourselves for disappointment. There's a lot that I expect or hope that will happen in the next year but I also resolve to try and appreciate things as they happen, not be afraid of the flow of time, and enjoy life as it is without trying to press everything into discrete memories when the clock clicks over.

(Behold, the magical 405 freeway in all its holiday glory.)


avaiki said...

Happy birthday! My embers have moved from smouldering to an outright city-wide bushfire, trolling down through post-party thoughts to warnings about piss-gulping parasites. "City" being a relative word for someone living on a small island in the middle of nowhere. Merry dissertationing.

stephen kang said...

a happy belated birthday to you.

did you have tacos at el taurino?

Anonymous said...

boy, your blogs are sounding way SATC.

so, when you birthday lands around the holidays- you begin to ask yourself....... is it merry birthday or happy christmas??


justrose said...

"Instead, the moment is already being thought as something that will later be remembered, sometimes even before it takes place."

this is what i've been thinking lately. you said it perfectly! you don't know me, but i was just "next blogging" through and your blog caught my eye. happy birthday to you!

minsuhson said...

Thanks everyone. Notes like these make getting older just that much easier.