Invariably, in life, one reaches a point where his birthday is relatively insignificant and it represents yet another day in an otherwise busy schedule and the struggle to make it out of bed.
I'm happy to announce I'm not quite at that point yet.
It all began last Saturday, March 13th. I had been informally planning a night out with a bunch of friends knowing Kaia would be in town, but I hadn't really planned much of anything out. Typically, when we plan as a group, things come together quickly and efficiently and everything works out because we're all of a similar mind: pick a place, a time, and have fun.
However, being that Kaia was in town and there was a lot of ancillary stuff happening, the night never got fully fleshed out. Friends of mine from out of town were going to be visiting NYC -- with their mom -- and I wanted to be sure I saw them as well. However, because of the way everything was progressing plans-wise, I wasn't exactly sure when we'd get down to the bar where they were going to be celebrating with friends.
Needless to say, Saturday came and the weather was monsoon-like. So instead of vigorously planning the night out, Kaia and I decided to wing it -- and since a friend of ours, Matt, spent time with us that afternoon, we figured we would make some plans for dinner -- which we did -- and opted to visit Dinosaur BBQ, at 131st and 12th.
Kaia and I had been planning to visit Dinosaur for a year or two; between that and some friends of ours telling us to run, not walk, to Dino ASAP, we decided we three would head uptown. Never mind the weather was terrible, and that every sane person on the entire island of Manhattan canceled his/her plans and opted for delivery and a movie.
We went uptown and when we arrived -- in the monsoon -- at Dino, I looked through the crowd and saw a dozen friends hiding -- SURPRISE -- amid the masses of people awaiting Dino's tasty eats. The details of the surprise came out after, how Kaia engaged the entire group via e-mail and everyone finally agreed to venture out to Dino, etc. etc. etc.
We spent the next few hours kicking back, celebrating my birthday, and overall having a lot of fun.
I didn't really expect much of anything, between the fact my birthday landed during the week and I don't do much exciting any given year; however, it was a blast having everyone assembled, despite the weather -- amazingly, everyone made it -- and I genuinely was touched by the fact that the surprise was really a nice way to pre-celebrate.
On my actual birthday, we went out to Balthazar -- one of our usual hangs -- I had way too much to drink before and during dinner -- and went to bed happy, hazy and relaxed.
All in all, as I get older, I might not get wiser, but I do learn -- and in this case, I can happily admit I appreciate my significant other, my friends and increasingly realize that spending time with good friends enjoying good food, booze and good times is far more worthwhile than anything wrapped up with a shiny bow (although they're mighty awesome as well).
Thanks to all who celebrated or otherwise acknowledged my birthday, and I hope everyone enjoyed the day near and far.
Thanks to some good friends -- and, of course, Kaia -- another year's passing isn't something to mourn but to celebrate, and leaves me looking forward to the year ahead and to March 17, 2011.