Remembering and Forgetting

I’m a calendar freak and I admit it. I have two or three at home, several at work, paper and digital, and one in my iPhone. Anniversaries and birthdays are important to me. You would think I wouldn’t forget dates but I missed three big ones so far this year.

First, my Dad’s birthday. He died more than ten years ago so it’s not always on my mind. He is but not his birthday. This is the second year I blew past February without remembering. Mom’s birthday was a few days ago. Blew past it. She died a few years ago too but how can I forget April 1st?

In the middle of a conversation at dinner tonight a friend and I realized this is opening week for Major League Baseball. There was a game on the TV in the restaurant. Wow, baseball season is here already? How did we miss that? As we’re laughing about it I realized this week is the anniversary of my moving from Texas to Maryland a couple of decades ago. This week! How could I forget it? My first day at my new job that week included the home opener of the Baltimore Orioles.

I had moved partway across the country a couple of times in the past but that move was a bit more significant than most. I was happy in Dallas. I had purchased my first house, was engaged to be married and was a 60-minute flight away from my family. Then I lost my job there. Six months later I had no money, no job and no job prospects. I had turned down the job in Baltimore. Through a stroke of good luck and timing that job hadn’t been filled all those months later and I asked if I could change my mind and say yes to it. They agreed. I sold the house for just enough of a profit to pay off my other debt but couldn’t convince my fiance to move. Eventually things worked out for the best for both of us but the whole experience was still a jarring point in my life … and an anniversary I shouldn’t forget. But this week I did.

Birthdays means a lot to me. Anybody can celebrate New Year’s Day but only you and those you choose celebrate your birthday. Anniversaries fall into the same bundle, for me at least. Noting the date on which something happened serves as a reminder, an excuse to celebrate, a measuring unit for life events that can mark progress or push you toward action in the face of a lack of progress.

I remember my sister’s birthday, the date of the first date with my high school girlfriend, the date I fell down a flight of stairs and landed in the hospital, yet with six or seven calendars and I still forgot those other three dates. It’s a sad date for this calendar freak. Maybe I should note that on one of the calendars.