What is it with the birthday fever?
I went to an impromptu birthday celebration tonight for someone from our sister branch who was turning 21. This makes 4 birthday celebrations in 2 months with 3 more currently planned in the coming weeks. 3 of the 7 are 21st birthday celebrations, involving a good quantity of libations. So I gotta wonder, what was going on in spring 1985?
Birthdays are a big deal in my family. When it's your birthday, you get to run the show. Your choice for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Entertainment, movie choice, outing, gift list, all according to your whim. When we were little, we went to Chuck E. Cheese (Questers will recognize this as the actual place of sermon lore). I loved to go play skeeball and whack-the-monster (the monster changed every time we went) and save tickets for the ridiculous prizes (I think I still have a stuffed Chuck E. Cheese doll somewhere in a box). As I grew older, I graduated to Wild Waves, shopping trips, and most recently, a bonfire on the beach. My brothers still make trips to the Family Fun Center (that's the place by Southcenter Mall with the big Bulwinkle) and shopping sprees at Toys 'R' Us and Fred Meyer.
One would think that with this focus on birthdays, my 21st would have been a huge smash. I've heard tales of wild shindigs and have been witness to severe drunkenness in celebration of the legal drinking age. I, however, have no puking stories from my 21st year. Actually, my 21st was very quiet and simple, with the big production being a nice dinner out with my very best friend Tenae. She was a culinary student at the time, so she found a really nice restaurant in Wallingford to take me to, with a high quality three course dinner and a nice glass of merlot. No hangover, no day-after wretchedness, just a nice tingle on my tongue. It was great.
When I made the comment to my branch manager that I had no puking stories, she said, "I think you like it that way." She was slightly buzzed herself when she said it, but I think she's right. I've never been full-on drunk. A bit happy, yes, and I have learned not to drink your fourth drink sitting down and then stand up really fast afterwards. But nothing more than that.
I wonder if some people consider me a bit too self-righteous or straight-laced because of that. I mean, I can have a good time while still retaining my faculties. I don't see the appeal in worshipping the porcelain god. I've had the stomach flu, I don't need a self-induced case. And while I don't encourage drunkenness, I don't go around telling people they have had too much to drink. I just make sure they have a ride if they need one.
I suppose I've always had a bit of insecurity in regards to my goody-two-shoes-ness. (I'm such a goody-two-shoes, I was called that by a kid in my church youth group.) There's a little bit of temptation to be bad just to fit in. I've found that becoming a negative in my life recently, as my language has become increasingly coarse at work (not with customers, with my rather foul-mouthed coworkers). A new coworker, whom I have discovered is a Christian, convicted me the other day when he reminded me of the verse that says "let no foul thing proceed from your lips." I realized just how foul I can be sometimes, and even just the amount of negative that comes out of my mouth. We had a long discussion at C group recently about criticalness in our speech, and when we should speak up and when we should shut up. Reflecting on that discussion, I confess that I could shut up a lot more.
I'm rambling now, but I guess I'm trying to process the conflict between strong conviction about what is good and right behavior, and the desire to let people just have a good time. I mean, sin is sin, right? Drunkenness and foul language are both mentioned in the Bible as bad activities. My swearing is just as bad as someone getting plastered. Some people would say that neither is a big deal, but then I go back and read the verses in Colossians and I am totally convicted. And conflicted. Totally.
Sigh...This is how I respond to issues. One of our other discussions at C group was about personality types, and there was a frighteningly accurate statement about my personality:
An ESFJ at odds with self is a remarkable sight. When a decision must be made, especially one involving the risk of conflict (abhorrent to ESFJs), there ensues an in-house wrestling match between the aforementioned black-and-white Values and the Nemesis of Discord. The contender pits self against self, once firmly deciding with the Right, then switching to Prudence to forestall hostilities, countered by unswerving Values, ad exhaustium, winner take all.
Mental wrestling match. Ad exhaustium. Yeah.
So, this proved to be a post about more than birthdays. But it's a lot of stuff I have been thinking about lately. Maybe if I blogged more frequently, I wouldn't have so much to say in one post!