More Candles than Cake

More Candles

It’s my birthday this week.

I’ve got that day off from work, so I’ll probably stay home and catch up on some reading.  Then, in the evening, my girlfriend and I will have a nice dinner somewhere (nothing expensive), followed by a movie.  No big deal.

I’m not making a big fuss about it or anything.  It’s not one of the big even number digits that end in a ‘zero’, and it’s not one of the later ones where everyone is simply amazed (or perhaps a little horrified) that you’ve held on for another year.

It’s just a birthday.

Actually, I’ve never really made a big deal about these things.

Even as a kid, I don’t think I looked forward to ‘em the way other kids did.  Most likely, this was because I realized pretty quickly that my birthday was lost deep within that calendrical “Bermuda Triangle” known as the ‘Holiday Season’.

You know what I’m talking about, right?

When your birthday falls in the month of December (and I suspect within a few weeks on either side of that month) your birthday celebrations and gifts get shuffled neatly into the general holiday hoopla.

“Oh, and this gift,” she said while pulling a random package from under the tree, “was for your birthday.”


Don’t get me wrong, I’m not looking for sympathy.

I’m just trying to provide a little context for my perspective on birthdays.

And isn’t that what birthdays are all about?  Putting one’s life in perspective.

What did I do this year?  How did I grow?

Am I better off?




To be honest, there are days when I feel like I’ve got more candles than cake.

Another year rolls past…,

and then another…,

and another…,

and I never seem to have much more to show for any of it.

Oh sure, I’ve got a new assortment of aches and pains, but where’s my damned cake?


On the other hand, it takes but a single candle to push back the darkness.

As we add more candles the light glows brighter still, and in that light we see our path more clearly.  If we gather our candles carefully, the glow may even become bright enough to illuminate the way for others.

Yeah, you can keep the cake.  It may taste sweet, but there’s nothing there except empty calories.

I’ll take the candles.


Filed under Culture, Family, Holidays, Modern Life

5 responses to “More Candles than Cake

  1. happy birthday!! celebrate in the summer time if you feel your day is too close to the holidays! have yourself a “half birthday” in June. That’s what we did with my son when he was little…he was born the first week of January, we would have a cake and gifts on his day without too much fanfare then in July we would have a big pool party with all his friends, with a half cake. (no gifts though, it was all for fun) lol and cheer up…. it’s a lot better than the alternative 😉

    • As I said, I’m pretty comfortable with it being kept low key. Never been comfortable making it anything more than it is. No cheering up necessary (though I appreciate the sentiment), I was, after all, focusing on the ‘glass half full’. Cheers!

  2. My birthday is ten days before Christmas, but I can’t say that I ever fell into the holiday syndrome that you describe and I have heard much about. Of course, that may be because my Dad’s birthday was two days before mine (maybe he knew the birthday/holiday syndrome in his youth.) Nevertheless, I hope you enjoy the most wonderful birthday of your life this year.

    • Heh, funny you say that, Steve. My father’s birthday falls on the day before mine, so when there was a cake, it was one we shared.

      Glad to hear you never had to deal with “the Triangle”. I’ve no regrets. I just don’t have the same birthday expectations (good or bad) that other people seem to. Thanks for the birthday wishes!

  3. Pingback: Let them eat cake! | Stone of Destiny

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