Happy Decimal Birthday to Me

A decimal birthday is any birthday that can be evenly divisible by ten, and though it can refer to yearly birthdays, a decimal birthday is most often counted in days. The more zeros, the more significant the decimal birthday, such as 10,000, 15,000, 25,000.

When I discovered my father was going to reach his 35,000th day, it seemed so significant, I created a party for him.

Today is my decimal birthday, one of the significant ones (though many thousands of days away from 35,000). I’ve been trying to think of something special to do to celebrate, then I realized I don’t need to celebrate the day. The day itself is a celebration, as is any day I am alive.

I’ve always tried to make each day special, particularly after Jeff died. (Before that, every day was a celebration because of his presence. Even the days that weren’t particularly pleasant were worth celebrating because we were together.)

The worst of my grief was a sort of celebration — a celebration of life, both his and mine. The grief was proof that he once lived, that I once loved greatly. Every day I lived through the agony and angst was a day of triumph because I did live through it. Those days were of such heightened pain and sorrow that ironically, I felt more alive than any time since. And that, in itself, was a celebration of sorts.

My celebrations (and triumphs) are much less cosmic today than they were during my time of grief, but still, each day is a celebration — a day that is mine to do with as I can. (I was going to say to do with as I wish, but so often, life does not grant us such wishes, but it does grant us the ability to do something.)

I’ve been spending my most recent days alone. Not lonely, just alone. And that is a celebration in itself, a boon, since the non-loneliness was a long time coming.

During all the years of grief, I had a hard time reading — I couldn’t handle books that feted death such as thrillers because I’d had enough of death, couldn’t handle books where two people got together in the end because I didn’t have that, couldn’t handle two people not getting together because I did have that and knew how it felt. But I’m finally past that time, and have reverted back to my youth when reading was like breathing. Something I did without thinking. In fact, the local library had a summer reading program for adults, and I was the big winner.

I haven’t just been reading, of course, because now I have the house, and the house needs attention. Each little project has definitely been a celebration. I never expected to own a house, never even wanted to, but here it is. And here I am.

Some of the projects were simple and fun, such as painting a boarded-up garage window to look like a window.

Some of the projects have been simply fun, such as ordering bulbs to plant in my front yard this fall. I’m not sure how much fun it will be to plant all 200+ bulbs but, as I have learned, a lot can be accomplished little by little. Besides, there is no better way to celebrate life and hope than to plant flowers.

Until then, there is today — a special day because it is a day that has been granted to me. To all of us.

I hope you will take a moment to celebrate this day.


Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

9 Responses to “Happy Decimal Birthday to Me”

  1. Carol J. Garvin Says:

    Happy decimal birthday to you, whichever one it is. Every day we’re alive is a miracle, an achievement, and should be celebrated. Admittedly, I sometimes have to remind myself of that. I’m not always grateful to waken with aches and pains, but then I remember that I DID wake up, and the alternative wouldn’t be desirable. LOL.

    I’m glad to hear you’re enjoying reading again. I’ve been trying to get more writing done, but I’ve also been utilizing these summertime days to do lots of reading, too. We’d planned to spend time at our cabin, but it hasn’t worked out so far this summer, so I’ve substituted ‘at home’ days. Staycation days. Am currently working through SUMMER OF SUSPENSE: Sixteen Tales…. The short stories are written by Christian authors I know online, and I preordered it at .99 — a bargain.

    Blessings to you on your decimal birthday. I hope the rest of your summer brings many more happy moments.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Hi, Carol. As always, you get what I am saying, and I so appreciate that! It’s nice to share this feeling of the miraculous rather than just our sorrow. And oh, yes, it’s hard to see the miracle when the aches and morning stiffness makes waking a bit of a chore, but that discomfort reminds me I am alive, and that is no small thing.

      The rest of the summer will bring happy moments because I will choose to make them happy, and if I can’t, well, I’ll celebrate that, too.

      Wishing you many happy stories and a lovely fall.

  2. rami ungar the writer Says:

    Happy Decimal Birthday, Pat. And what an inventive idea. I wonder if I can work it into a story, somehow.

  3. Sam Sattler Says:

    I enjoyed the post, Pat; you gave us plenty to think about. I’m glad that you have finally reached the point where being alone and being lonely are not necessarily the same thing. That’s where we all need to be if we are to be happy and/or contented people. We do need to enjoy our own company.

    Coincidentally, although I had never heard of “decimal birthdays” before reading your post, I seem to be approaching one myself in the next few days. I haven’t counted Leap Years properly, but it looks like I will be reaching my 26,000 day birthday in the next several days. That’s kind of cool, so thanks for alerting me to the idea.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      So, happy decimal birthday to you, too! I’m glad someone saw how cool the idea is. Most people I mentioned it to either looked at me as if I was nuts, or simply told me when their birthday was. Knowing your age in years is okay, but to know how many days you have lived is an awesome number.

  4. Judy Galyon Says:

    I had never heard of that. but it is interesting!!! Have a great day!!!

  5. SheilaDeeth Says:

    Happy decimal birthday! And happy planting when you get to it.

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