A Quiet Birthday

Pere Lachaise

Pere Lachaise on a sunny day

The sound of rain woke me before the light had come, but the day gave way to sunshine by afternoon. I stayed in bed late, then read, then rose. It was a tranquil beginning to my quietest birthday yet.

I usually plan a celebration of some sort – I love my birthday! – but this year I didn’t feel that’s what I wanted for some reason. It might have had something to do with the storm – seeing the damage it wrought across much of the Eastern seaboard, but most personally, of course to my beloved New York.

Maybe it had to do with my anxiety over the impending election, too. (Please vote!)

But today there was no sadness. I was happy to face the day on my own terms.

After my languid start, I went to the library to work for a few hours, as has become my habit. Some would say, rest! Don’t work on your birthday! But slowly getting back into a committed writing routine is the gift I’m giving myself.

Pere Lachaise

After a couple hours trying to shape one paragraph (yes, that’s a normal pace for me), I left the library then took a spontaneous detour to Pere Lachaise. The sun had come out in full force by now and as it’s Sunday, plenty of folks were taking their weekend stroll.

The more I visit the cemetery, the more in touch with life I feel. It reminds me how precious are our days. (And seeing what can happen in a storm reminds me, too! Things can change in an instant!)

When I returned home, I had many messages waiting for me online. I love the birthday parade of well wishes! It is like a virtual party! And so I thought to write to you, too. Thank you for being part of my days; I love hearing from you all.

I had tea and cookies with a friend, then a Skype date, too, but am finishing the evening alone again, about to read some more. End the day as I started.

A (mostly) solo birthday and yet I do not feel alone. I’m grateful I get to live my life as I please and that love is all around me.

Thank you, friends!

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23 Responses to “A Quiet Birthday”


  1. 1 Mary Lonergan November 4, 2012 at 11:33 pm

    Happy Birthday Sion…always happy to wish a fellow Scorpio a wonderful new year! Love your birthday post!

  2. 3 Ruth Sklar November 4, 2012 at 11:48 pm

    Lovely entry….I also don’t mind spending my birthday on my terms, especially in Paris! Bonne anniversaire…..

  3. 5 Karin P November 5, 2012 at 2:21 am

    I am convinced that true power in life is the ability to love yourself enough to be on your own and enjoy it as fully as if in the sweetest partnership ever. :) Now, if only I could *feel* that everyday, too, hahaha! But I do believe it as a kind of ideal, and have my moments of fully knowing it, just like you did in the cemetery (my favorite Paris place!! How wonderful to spend your birthday there. :) ).

    Here’s a little funny coincidence. Peter of “Peter’s Paris” just posted about the cemetery and Gary Lee Kraut of “France Revisited” just posted on Facebook a photo of himself at the cemetery on Sunday, too. It must be”Père Lachaise Day” for Paris bloggers, lol.

    A little bittersweet, being inundated with a triple play on the cemetery, seeing as it is my fave place for so many wonderful reasons (Peter’s post actually made me cry, not because it was sad, but because he posted pics of so many of my favorite grave markers). On the other hand, I am super grateful I have bloggers there in Paris who will keep me visiting vicariously.

    Bloom where you are planted, eh? And Only Forward. My two mottoes that have stood up well. It’s like what you write here: “I’m grateful I get to live my life as I please and that love is all around me.” That is pretty much all we can ask for, no matter where we are! :) Gratitude goes a long way in making life a beautiful thing.

    A *very* Happy Birthday, Scorpio Sion! ;-)
    Karin

    • 6 paris (im)perfect November 5, 2012 at 11:45 am

      Thanks, Karin. You are SO right. I have been feeling this so strongly lately – feeling comfortable and content on my own. I’ve always had the independent streak, but I think I was often always kind of looking around for (romantic) love, too, feeling there was something missing – (yeah, I’m just going to go straight there). Recently I’ve just been feeling so dang happy, completely fine on my own. Calm and centered. Grateful. So yeah, if I can hold onto that feeling, it’d be ideal!

      I’ll have to check out those other posts on Pere Lachaise. Sunday really is a popular day. I love how it’s kind of like the outing for the day. But you can still find quiet pockets, too.

      Thanks for the birthday wishes, Karin. And sounds like you are learning a lot in this new phase.

  4. 7 Bonnie L November 5, 2012 at 2:40 am

    Happy Birthday!

  5. 9 Buffy November 5, 2012 at 3:36 am

    Happy Birthday!!!!! It seems the older one gets, the quieter the birthday. Except for maybe the milestone ones, of course. Enjoy the next year. You are right, life is short. Live it to the fullest. That is what I try to do nowadays; well as much as I can.

    Goodnight

    • 10 paris (im)perfect November 5, 2012 at 11:40 am

      Thanks, Buffy. It’s so true. The quiet day is exactly what I wanted. I think back to some of the birthday parties in my 20s – a rock concert on a ship cruising around Manhattan, the party at the bar with a burlesque show where I showed up in a full-length silver gown and blue wig! – and have to laugh. I’m happy I have those experiences, but equally as happy that a cup of tea and curled up with a good book is now as much of a good time for me :)

  6. 11 Karene November 5, 2012 at 3:49 am

    Happy (belated) Birthday, Sion! I was out of town and just saw this. Sometimes it’s nice to have a quiet birthday, especially when you can do some things to treat yourself, like you did. (My sister arrived in Paris this morning on a trip of lifetime. She has a list a mile long of everything she wants to see and experience, including Pere Lachaise.)

    Wishing you a beautiful year ahead.

  7. 13 Kristin Bair O'Keeffe November 5, 2012 at 4:09 am

    Happy Birthday, Sion! Glad you spent it in a place you love!

  8. 15 Lee I November 5, 2012 at 8:33 am

    What could be lovelier? Happy Birthday, Sion.

  9. 17 Amy Kortuem November 5, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    Girl, I love that you went to a cemetery on your birthday! I’m glad you celebrated in the quiet way that felt best to you.

    I’ve had “reflective” birthdays, too. In some ways, those are the ones I remember with the most fondness. I’ll never forget a winter walk I took in the woods one year on my birthday, which is December 19. That wintry light – so pink and blue and sheer and cold – the beauty of it made me weep. A gorgeous, quiet way to move into another year.

  10. 19 Franck November 5, 2012 at 6:07 pm

    The perfect day to dive into a Doisneau’s work! Happy saudade!

  11. 20 Carolyn November 5, 2012 at 10:45 pm

    Belated Happy Birthday and cheers to the year(s) ahead. Love your posts and tweets from Paris! Your time at PL reminds me of David Downie’s book chapter about PL and my own time wandering there at different phases of my life. Lovely.

    Take care and happy writing.

  12. 22 Ann Mah November 7, 2012 at 9:53 pm

    Happy belated birthday, Sion! I can’t imagine a better place to celebrate life than at Père Lachaise (odd as that may sound) — which itself is such a celebration of life. May your new year be full of enriching contemplation and quiet moments, along with the laughter you share with your MANY friends!


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paris (im)perfect?

Sion Dayson is paris (im)perfect. Writer, dreamer, I moved to France on – no exaggerating – a romantic whim. As you can imagine, a lot can go wrong (and very right!) with such a (non)plan. These are the (im)perfect stories that result.

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