The Pattersonian will be switching to a paid subscription next week. In the below audio interview, Steve and Donovan (the person who handles the technical side of The Pattersonian) discuss the upcoming changes.
I know that’s not the way the expression goes. But since I had a birthday this past week, it’s how I’d like to live from here on in.
If you live each day as if it’s your last, well, you end up doing foolhardy things. Like skydiving, driving off a cliff or, if you live in Ontario right now, well, you’re already rolling the dice it seems.
Living each day as if it’s your FIRST on the other hand is essentially how toddlers live every day. Which is to say, you don’t have to do anything for yourself, everyone understands that you’re a little tipsy when you walk and no matter what you do you get a wide berth because of your birth.
Having a birthday (which, I would argue, almost ALL of us do) gives those around you something to celebrate. It gives a reason to contact a dear friend you may have lost contact with. It allows strangers on social media to send you a sincere wish, usually with virtual balloons. And it gives family members a chance to reconnect and rekindle memories that you may not have been able to laugh about at the time but can gleefully guffaw at now (like my brother Larry did when he wrote that his fondest memory of me was when he got me a used car when I was 18 and gave me a crash course in driving manual transmission before heading out into Toronto rush hour traffic to try it on my own. Good times!)
This is all especially true on milestone birthdays like, say, your 5OTH! Which may or may not have been the birthday that I just celebrated (it was).
50 is a gateway age between young and old. Very young people think 50 is very old. Ancient in fact. Ask a 4 year old the biggest age he or she can think of and they’ll say 20. Ask a 20 year old and they’ll say 40. Hell even people in their 40’s (which I was a part of until last Wednesday) are very clear that they are not yet 50. Not even “close”. Meanwhile, marketing people focus very clearly on the 18-49 year old demographic and then, once you hit 50, they assume you will not spend any money on any material goods anymore. But if you need to, you better get a reverse home mortgage in place now, just in case!
Meanwhile people above their 60’s think of 50 year olds as “kids”. Which, as someone who hosts a show on CBC radio, bodes well for me.
But in all honesty, I DO still feel like a kid. Maybe that’s because I’m a professional comedian, which most adults don’t consider a real job. Or perhaps it’s because I have very young kids at home which some people say, “keeps you young” (though the people who say that usually don’t have young kids at home). But mostly I think it’s because I try to smile and laugh at every opportunity I can and to help others do the same. I mean, technically that is my entire job, but it’s also what I love to do. And while I don’t agree with the saying “laughter is the best medicine”, especially in a time where everyone is in need of actual medicine, I do agree that laughing helps get people through tough times. And right now, times are tough for just about everyone.
So what I’m really suggesting here is not that you live your life like you were just born which would essentially mean being naked and suckling at your mom’s breasts (sorry for that visual for anyone who happens to be reading this WITH their mother) but that you treat someone in your life as others treat you on your birthday. Give them a call. Send them a video. Write them a note that tells them what they mean to you. And if it does happen to actually BE their birthday, go all out this year like you never have before. Which doesn’t mean buying expensive presents, just a little effort.
My wife Nancy, who is the living epitome in a life partner of a ‘gift that keeps on giving’, organized a video for me that included many of my dearest friends saying extremely nice things (whether they were true or not doesn’t matter. It’s ok to exaggerate someone’s qualities on their birthday). Then my buddy Donovan, who produces this very article each week, was kind enough to put all the videos together for us and my oldest and dearest friend Ted, who I’ve been best friends with since grade 4, took it upon himself to do a tour of various locales in London Ontario where we spent time together growing up. It wasn’t flashy. The sound editing and cinematography were frankly, below broadcast standards. But it meant the world to me.
This year, more than any other, it’s important to mark milestones however we can. And whether or not you’re celebrating a ‘milestone’ birthday this year, I encourage everyone to celebrate their loved ones as if they are. And I don’t think you need to wait until someone’s birthday to do it either. More often than not, my 6-year-old daughter Scarlett starts the day by singing “happy birthday” to me. I’ve stopped correcting her on the 364 days that it isn’t my birthday, because making someone feel like it’s their birthday, even if it isn’t, is a gift we can all give to each other.
Then again, maybe this is the booze my buddies gave me for my 50th talking, some of which was Labatt 50 beer, so I may be hallucinating and in need of a tetanus shot. Either way, I’m sticking with this advice and I hope you’ll give it a try. Happy birthday to you. Good talk.