A friend of mine turned 50 last weekend. And in honor of the occasion, his wife threw him a big shindig.
There were people there from all different phases of his life, a live band, a roast pork with all the fixins’, and a huge pile of red, white and blue bespoke designer cup cakes – (apparently a reference to the rock band The Who…who knew?) – that we all took home at the end of the evening .
It was the first “50th” I’ve been to, (although I’ve been to plenty of other milestone birthdays along the way.) And what struck me most about it was how well the festivities suited the birthday boy in question. It was held, for starters, in a rugby club. (This is a gent who likes his sports.) It was also quite casual. (I’d been planning to wear a black evening dress when the hostess confessed that she’d be wearing “a fancy top with jeans.” Thank goodness I asked. Major wardrobe U-turn.)
But what most struck me about the gathering was that the guest of honor sang…at his own party. Together with a few of our more musically-minded friends (plus his sisters on back up and a professional drummer from the band), the entourage belted out no less than four songs, including (it must be said) The Beatles’ They Say It’s Your Birthday.
Which was simply awesome.
Now I recognize that not everyone would want to sing at their own birthday party, much less be able to. But it was *exactly* what this guy wanted to do… and lo he did.
And that got me thinking about how the act of celebrating something like this differs so markedly across the human species.
Another friend of mine who’s also turning 50 this year told me that he planned to spend it in a hotel room with his wife, a bunch of alcohol and some dirty movies. Well, ok then.
And I’ll never forget the friend of mine who confessed that while she was deeply touched when her husband threw her a surprise birthday party many years ago, she found it incredibly stressful to have people assembled from all the different parts of her life all at once in the same room.
All of which is to say that how we choose to celebrate these milestones as we get older says an awful lot about who we are as people: our tastes, our predilections, our natures.
So spill it. What’s the wildest/most memorable/most interesting birthday party/milestone celebration you’ve ever attended?
Image: 50 Years Of Light by Micah68 via Flickr under a Creative Commons license.