My office has a policy of celebrating everyone's birthday in a very traditional manner. We buy a cake, stick a random number of candles into it, and "surprise" the individual having the birthday with a rousing rendition of the "Happy Birthday" song. I put "surprise" in quotations because it's rarely a surprise. (As a complete aside, finding fire to light the candles has become a challenge since I quit smoking.)
When I turned 30, my friend Kerry baked me a very special cake. I was in an odd place in my life when I turned 30. It was 1992. The Boy was six years old. We lived in Woodbridge. George H. Bush was President. Smoking in public places, such as offices, was rapidly being outlawed. (I clearly recall being relegated to smoking in the hall outside the ladies room instead of in the office at my desk. The hallway was okay, but the office proper was not. It would not matter to me now because I do not smoke. It did not matter to me much back then either even though I did.) I had one of the best jobs I'd ever had, to this day. The office had a wonderful dynamic and terrific people. Which really helped because my personal life was a fucking mess. I experienced my mid-life crisis at 30 instead of waiting for actual mid-life. I've always been advanced, except when I'm slow.
My friend Kerry is very creative. At least she was back then and I must assume she still is now because such creativity doesn't get used up. (Does it?) She was the one who knew me best back then. We'd gone to high school together and then years later worked for the same company. In the accounting department. Heck, the two of us were the accounting department! There used to be others but by the time I turned 30, we were the sole survivors.
So she knew I was feeling down about my birthday. To me it felt like "oh crap I'm so freaking old and my life is over and it's all downhill from here!" Laughable now, looking back. How was I to know then that life after 30 would be so fine? And I certainly had no inkling that life after 40 would be even better!
The cake she baked for my 30th birthday was in the shape of a coffin. Yes, the very thing in which people are laid to rest after their time on earth is done. With a lovely shade of gray for the icing. White cake (my favorite!) inside. A coffin-shaped cake. Creativity gone wild? It was just the ticket. Oh how we celebrated that year. Good times, good times. I miss Kerry.
I could get all philosophical about how that coffin-shaped cake was symbolic of my rebirth at age 30. Because life got so much more interesting and fulfilling after that.
But if I did that, I'd then have to go puke because it's so far over the top it would even make my super sappy mom sick. And that's saying alot.