I’m what I call a “high-functioning introvert,” which is a little joke meaning that I like being alone, but I perform well in a crowd. I am most at peace alone, and when I’m stressed or depressed or sick, the ONLY thing I want is to be absolutely alone. I’ve collected a wonderful group of friends here in the Portland area in the past decade, and it turns out many of them are introverts too. We don’t go out to party on Friday nights, but we do like to collect in groups of 3 or 4 and talk for hours.
Several of them knew my 50th was coming up (January 9 – this post is very late) but I laughed to myself realizing that among a group of introverts, though their love is unquestionable, it would probably not occur to any of them to plan a party for me. But this year I wanted a party. So I planned it for myself!
There is a new cider place in town that I mentioned in a blog post earlier, and I wanted to go back. Schilling Cider House has 50 craft-brewed hard ciders on tap from brewers right here in Portland to around the world. There’s a gluten-free kitchen that doesn’t serve meals, but does serve a collection of creative and delicious snacks like tempura zuchinni, risotto balls, and hand-dipped corn dogs. I set it all up ahead of time with the manager, to give them a heads up. Over a year ago I was invited to a different friend’s birthday party, and she had set up a tab under her own name for the whole group. I thought it was a super classy move and did the same thing. There were a few battles between the staff and my guests who wanted to pay for their own food and drinks, but Schilling had my back and no one got to pay. Ha ha!
I don’t recall ever having a birthday party. Maybe it has happened at some point, maybe in my childhood. But more clearly I remember my mother telling me she would never host a birthday party for me because my birthday was in January and that would mean all the kids would have to stay inside the house. She would not put up with that! My mother may also have been an introvert…. I had so many fears of self-doubt: how do you get people to come to a party? What if I pick a bad day or time? What if no one shows up? After all the planning with Schilling in the weeks ahead, it would be so embarrassing if only one or two people showed.
I contacted only the people that I really love – the ones that could would make my day better, no matter what happened. I invited about twenty-two people and got their input on what times would work best. A few couldn’t make it. But about eighteen people showed! I was delighted. One of my friends showed up at the very first moment, and she stayed till the very last moment: over four hours. I was touched. I arranged to stay the night with another girlfriend and after we Ubered back to her place, we chatted some more. It was a perfect perfect birthday party and birthday night.
Oh! And I received gifts! Ha! It had never entered my mind that people would bring gifts. I certainly didn’t ask for anything. So many fun, beautiful, sweet-smelling, homemade, and perfectly selected thoughtful gifts.
Gosh I’m getting all weepy as I write this. How can I be so lucky to have these great people in my life? Not just a couple of them, but all of them at the same time. I am immensely humbled and grateful.
There was one more person that I absolutely adore that I did not invite, and that is Marlene over at In Search of it All. She would have been a great addition and would have fit in with the group, but lives nearly an hour from the cider house and the party would be at night, which is a time Marlene tries not to be out driving. She and I will just have to celebrate on our own. In fact, I have a gift for her that needs to be delivered, so I should plan that trip soon. 😉
And P.S. did you notice the people at the end of the table, gaming the whole entire time? I thought that is such a great idea! I want to meet at a cider house and play games too!