“As with tigers, the female of the human species is also a capable hunter” from The Secret Language of Birthdays by Gary Goldschneider & Joost Elffers

Self Portrait by ©Joel Robison

Self Portrait by © Joel Robison

An Interview with Joel

Q. What is your best memory/moment from one of your past birthdays?

A. One of my best birthday memories is from last year, in 2013. I was on a cross-country photography workshop tour with two of my best friends and we were traveling across the southern states. We started the day in New Mexico with an amazing morning at the White Sands National Monument, endless acres of pure white sand and the hot August sun was something like out of a sci-movie. We shot photos and squinted our way through the sand, then started driving through short bursts of a summer rainstorm to end up in Texas. We played a hilarious round of mini-golf, laughing so hard we cried and then ended the day with a miniature apple pie with a candle in it!

Q. How about your worst?  And why?

A. I think one of my worst birthday memories was my 18th birthday. At the time I was working at our local Tim Hortons and found myself between a closing shift on the night of my birthday and an opening shift the next morning which meant I spent most of the day working and then going home to get ready for the next day of work. Certainly one of the most low key ways to spend a birthday!

Q. What do you believe is the most important aspect of celebrating a birthday?

A. I think for me, the most important part of celebrating a birthday is to reflect on the last year of your life. A lot of people do this on New Years Eve, look back at their year, but I like to do that o my birthday. I like to think back in the last 12 months of my life and see what the highlights were, what the lessons I learned were and how I can make the next year of my life one that I’m happy and excited about living.  I think that celebrating our achievements is a great way to celebrate a birthday.

Q. Do you/your family have a tradition/rituals/ceremonies to celebrate birthdays? What is it?

A. I think the only tradition that my family has is my mom will phone everyone she knows on their birthday (although now she uses Facebook if she can’t call) and sings happy birthday to them. I remember as a kid she would round my brothers and I up around the phone and we would sing to cousins, family friends, and grandparents first thing in the morning. It always makes me smile to think that she puts so much effort into others.