I'm just wondering how the rest of you deal with your birthdays after leaving the organization.
I was born on the 4th of July (U.S Holiday) so every year on my birthday, there were two fun occasion that I wasn't allowed to participate in. Even as a born-in, I never could understand the reasoning behind the JW birthday ban.
When I became a Dad my wife and I used to secretly do a little something special for our boys when it was their birthday. I'd bring home a special desert and after dinner I would recount the night they were born and our trip to the hospital and all excitement that took place on the occasion of their birth. I loved the shy yet proud look that would come across their faces as we let them know in this small and "forbidden" way, how very much they were loved and wanted.
The year we stopped going to meetings, I turned 50 and even though I had lost every friend I ever had, instead of everything going wrong like they say it will, everything got better. I had started a new job and it was and still is the best job I ever had. Apparently when I was hired, someone kept track of when my birth date so on the day before the 4th of July Holiday, my name was announced over the P.A system and I was summoned to the penthouse on the 22nd floor. I thought maybe I was in some sort of trouble or something bad was finally going to happen. Instead, I walked into a beautiful banquet room with floor to ceiling windows and a balcony that overlooked the City and the waterfront. It was all decked out with balloons and streamers and a cake with candles and food and smiling faces. Even when they all began shouting "Surprise !! "and "Happy Birthday!!", I had no idea what was going on.
After realizing what was happening, I remember being embarrassed because I was the center of attention. As a JW's it was drilled into my head that drawing undue attention to ones self is frowned upon. I was a bit panicked because I didn't know how to act or what I was supposed to do or say. Everyone was laughing because they had to instruct me each step of the way. "Go on Pete....Make a wish"...."Blow out the candles" "Open your present", they shouted.
They thought my awkwardness was due to their success at my being so completely and thoroughly surprised. Little did they know that at 50 years of age, I had never ever celebrated a birthday in my life and had never even so much as been to a birthday party let alone had one in my honor. Nor did they suspect that I was half scared that I would be struck down with lightning for participating in a pagan ritual and for not making my usual righteous stand for Jehovah....(AKA the Governing Body).
The following week, I went to the Lake Tahoe Apostafest and a wonderful group of former JW's sang 'Happy Birthday" to me, as we all sat around the campfire on a beautiful starry night.
I well understand the melancholy one can feel when they've reached a
milestone that seems as if it should be marked in someway. It can leave a
person feeling a bit flat, when such occasions come and go and no one
notices. My 50th was memorable but I've had lots of times that instead of being "occasions" like one might hope, they simply came and then went.
Anyway, your 50th year is 365 days long. There's still time to mark the occasion in some memorable way. Make your 50th year one that you'll never forget !
So Happy 50th birthday to you...you're not getting older....you're getting better !