Serendipitous Birthday Present

I reflected on an article in a small community’s newsletter about a lady who was born on St. Patrick’s Day. This connection led her to a life-long interest in St Patrick and related historical folks.

I thought I’d pull my own version of that alluring thread. I actually did this last February and am now just posting it this month.

I searched to find a list of people who were born on my day of birth. Up popped a list of people, famous and not so famous, inventors, politicians, celebrities, and sports figures in all walks of life.

Then Galileo caught my eye.  We were both born on the same date in the month but 384 years apart. We are practically first cousins.

Here is a short summary of what I learned about this fascinating life – and I thought he was all about a telescope.

He moved to Florence to seek money, status, and greater freedom to attack intellectual orthodoxies. He was tried for heresy and had a narrow escape from torture. His house arrest contributed to his physical (though not intellectual) decline.

I could tell that I was drawn into the drama. I frequently interrupted my wife’s life with snippets of fascinating tales about my new best friend, Galileo.

The value of this birthday present is it was so unforeseen. And the surprises just kept on coming over several weeks of reading. If I hadn’t pulled the thread of an idea to pair myself up with a person born on my day, I would be the poorer for it.

To keep me going through the pandemic, my wife and I hope to get to Florence and Venice when it is safe and affordable to travel. For fun, I searched for Galileo+Florence+Venice. There is a museum dedicated to Galileo. Now I really can’t wait to get travelling.

So please give this a bit of a think. Using your month and day of birth, search for people who were also born on that date. Try to cast your net as wide as possible at this time, not searching for specific genres or categories. From that list, look for names, types, eras, etc., that you are interested in. Or like me and jump into the unknown. The early Greek philosophers didn’t interest me, but Galileo struck a chord.

Whittle your shortlist down to a single name. Your rules, so you can always come back later and follow through on another character. Now the rabbit hole appears. Jump in and explore this person. It might be a YouTube video, a book, an upcoming local presentation, or a TV show. The adventure and joy of this is the serendipitous nature of follow-through.

This LINK will help you get started.

I’m curious about your thoughts. Please leave your comment below. Tell me what person you chose – and why.

If you enjoyed The Blog, please share it with others. Thanks.

And my thanks to St. Albert Seniors Association: 780-459-0433 for making this Blog possible.

Photo by Stefan Widua on Unsplash


6 thoughts on “Serendipitous Birthday Present

  1. Patti Dolman says:

    Mary Simon and I were born on the same day, August 21, 1947. Mary was born in Nunavut and went on to become Canada’s first indigenous Governor General. She is the Commander in Chief of the military army and recipient of numerous Order of Canada Awards. Her efforts as a liaison with indigenous leaders and policy makers is invaluable and she continues to fight for change and reparations.
    She is the grandmother of 14 . If that isn’t enough, she also plays the accordion. What do we share in common? Mary, like me enjoys nature and berry picking.
    What a woman!

  2. Chris says:

    Italy! Great choice – we went to a wedding in Tuscany only a few years ago.

    As for my pairing; “Ravishing” Rick Rude triggers my interest.

    I always knew that Pearl Harbour happened on the 7th December so had always thought of that.

  3. Elizabeth Ashton says:

    Funnily enough when studying history at School I was fascinated by the discovery that on the same day, albeit many years earlier, that I was born the Stauffenberg bomb plot very nearly killed Hitler.

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