I realized this morning, thinking over my all the birthday happenings, that for the last several years, my birthdays have been great. A couple of years ago my extended family all went camping on the central coast, this year we had the Iron Chef Challenge, I've been feted and flowered and generally loved. The stuff doesn't matter. Apart from this birthday (because it's all still fresh in my mind) I generally can't remember what presents I've received or what I ate. What I do remember is who was with me and how much laughing we all did.
The year we went camping, everyone was given a cowboy name (I'm Cookie, pirateguillermo is Lefty, Peaches is Dusty, BabyGoddess is Shorty, and we had Rusty, Tex, Stinky, Slim and a bunch more I can't remember) and we all had cowboy beans cooked in a big iron skillet over the fire, and enough smores to make the BabyGoddess vibrate. This year there were a jillion people in my kitchen and everyone laughed and felt included.
I've changed my expectations. I've started planning more things for myself. I've married a wonderful person who doesn't pretend that he knows better than me what I want (although I must own that sometimes he knows better than me what I need).
It's good to be old.