“Observe yourself living” from The Secret Language of Birthdays by Gary Goldschneider & Joost Elffers

Kindra Timmerwilke by ©Joel Robison

Image © Joel Robison

An Interview with Kindra

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

A. I went with a handful of friends to Teatro Zinzanni in Seattle a couple of years ago and was surprised partway through the performance with a cake and confetti that my father had them bring out. I cried a bit—it was such a sweet, unnecessary gesture, and though my face turned a bit red with embarrassment, the thoughtfulness of what he did is something I’ll never forget. Two of my friends who never dance even humored me by dancing to one of the songs with me, too, which was so sweet of them!

Q. How about the worst? And why?

A. I’m not sure there’s a worst at this point, since I haven’t done the whole birthday-celebration thing for very long. I will say I get a bit of “stage fright” with the notion of people acknowledging it. But aside from that, my birthdays have mostly been a warm experience.

Q. What was the present you’ve received for your birthday that most surprised you?

A. A *gorgeous* copy of The Hobbit, circa 1984, complete with beautiful watercolor illustrations and gold-edged pages.

Q. Is there one food or dish that you insist on eating during your birthday celebration?

A. Nothing that I *insist* upon eating, but I adore white coconut cake and certainly wouldn’t complain if I happened to be eating it on my birthday.

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

A. Self-assessment. Looking at my life, where I’m at, and assessing where I’d like to be in the future. Then mentally mapping out a path to achieve new goals over the course of the next year.

Q. Do you/your family/culture have any traditions/rituals/ceremonies that are performed to celebrate birthdays? What is it?

A. Actually, I was raised in a religion that didn’t advocate birthday celebrations, so it’s still a fairly new concept to me! Due to that, I’ve been creating my own traditions and means of celebrating over the past five or so years. I prefer to celebrate life itself, rather than MY life on my birthday, so I make a point of getting out into nature for a hike or long walk and just soaking up all of the beauty of the natural world.

Nearly every day, I think about how brief human life is, and I’m even more acutely aware of that fact on my birthday, so I do my best to appreciate what I have and further my personal plans for wherever I’m going and how I can affect change in an ever-changing world.