Roald Dahl was one of my favorite authors when I was a child. Fantastic Mr. Fox, James and the Giant Peach, Danny The Champion Of The World, they were all so quirky and touching and wild. Dahl’s book Going Solo, the sequel to his autobiography Boy, fell out of my bookshelf today. I opened it before putting it back and saw the quotation above in the prologue. The timing of finding it was a bit creepy; I had just started a Wilder Musings with “life is a series of moments.” I know that phrase isn’t a new one, and I deleted it and started over because it’s such a cliché. But isn’t it strange that I found these words right after writing those (more after the jump)?
I’ve been thinking about important moments recently, or as Dahl calls them, “great incidents.” On my birthday I heard from so many friends and family, including many people whom I’m not in constant contact with but whom I love and hold dear nonetheless. Facebook makes wishing someone a happy birthday an easy task—you just look to the side of your newsfeed and there they are, a list of birthday girls and boys. But this doesn’t cheapen the wishes at all. Even the brief “happy birthday!” some people wrote on my wall means that for a few moments, I was in their thoughts and they were in mine.
As I get older, some friendships and relationships that used to be strong have faded and fallen by the wayside, and new ones have sprung up. These changes aren’t a bad thing, nor are they intentional; we all get busy, all get swept up in the day to day moments, and our life-patterns, which affect whom we see, change. But being with, talking to, and hearing and getting cards from the “gold” friends and family (you know the song, “make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other is gold”?) made me realize that I really didn’t want anything for my birthday but to know I am loved. I know I write about stuff a lot on the blog, and beautiful things do matter to me. But I really just wanted my people around me or to let me know I was in their thoughts. Seriously, I’m not trying to be altruistic or saintly, here because trust me, I love a present as much as the next girl. I was just honestly fulfilled by the moments and gestures that might have seemed small to others, but to me were great.
I want to work on holding onto feelings that moments like those generate. While time can’t stop and the incidents will pass (it’s not my birthday anymore, after all), I can keep memories of feelings and carry them with me as I would a material present. They might take some work to bring along (I have days where I can feel pretty down) but thanks to the modern world, all I’ll have to do is look at my Facebook page, my text message history, or go back through my email inbox to remember them.
So thank you to everyone who made an effort to seek me out yesterday, and even to those who didn't but who perhaps thought of me. Because of you, I've been made a very happy, very honored young lady. I am going to work to keep the feelings your wishes generated, and remember, next time I'm on Facebook, how much a simple "happy birthday" might mean to someone. It could be, in Dahl's words, a great incident.