And it was big. My birthday party was wonderful. I think the best I’ve ever had. What made it so big? And great? Well, anybody’s 80th birthday is big just because you’re still here. But the chief ingredient that made my 80th birthday party so delightful other than having the people I love the most all together in one space … friends, kids, grandkids, sons-in-laws, co-workers, my own personal heroes…was that it was a complete surprise.
Really. A complete surprise. And I’m not easy to fool. And I don’t get surprised much anymore. Because that’s one thing old age brings. Increased perception. At eighty years one’s perception is more honed and fined than it has ever been, particularly in dealing with other humans; one knows from experience what a particular kind of facial expression might mean, what that body movement is hiding or revealing, what that particular tone of voice is suggesting. One has become more delicately tuned to others. So I’m surprised that I was surprised by a surprise birthday party planned and prepared largely by my family, hosted by Monika and Byron Sharedown, and attended by my best friends and well wishers along with greetings sent by those who couldn’t attend. I think I didn’t catch on just because everybody involved is so separated by geography it was, and is, a wonder to me that it all got together.
And surprise is the spice of life. It’s also the spice of evolution. What is a mutation in nature except a surprise? And we’re all here because of mutations in our pre human ancestors, because of surprises that made us human. I believe in surprises. That’s why I left, and still leave, church dogmas, as all religious dogmas are fixed in time; they are not open to surprises. I believe we evolve by surprises. By the ability to be surprised. To stay open to surprises. To celebrate surprises when they are good surprises and to learn from the bad surprises. I celebrated my birthday party surprise for two whole days and the surprise factor will linger much longer. Thank you, flesh of my flesh, both biological and adopted flesh, for another thing happens when you’re eighty…all those you love become your children. It just happens. Betty Krawczyk