They bought me a tiara. Which I put on and wore for the rest of the evening. This was a day of celebration.
Last year was a tough year. The last 2 years were tough. In the last 2 years I have changed my health, my family, my friends, my job. I have lost my mother. I have spent no little amount of time thinking about this over the last week. I told myself last year that I would do more things simply because I enjoyed them. This was my birthday resolution – I would do things that made me happy just because they made me happy. I spent 5 months in therapy learning how to give myself this gift.
I have done remarkably well at it.
It has become my tradition to invite my friends to dinner for my birthday. I make a couple of giant pans of lasagna and 3 loaves of garlic bread and someone brings salads and Whytelash bakes me a cake and we cram around a table or as we did tonight in every spare corner and we eat and we laugh and I look around at the people I love.
I think back – a childhood with mentally ill parents, the terminal silence in the wake of 5 dead babies. I think of this year, the first year that I have no parents. I think of the years of loneliness when I had not found my tribe or myself and then I look at the family I have built – as they gather around me. This is an incredible gift they give me – their voices and their presence.
I think back to the last 2 years. Of how hard it has been. Of those who are with me at this celebration and those who are too far away to join in and I am thankful. I exhale and relax into their presence. These people who love me in all of my intensity and ferocity and neuroticism and workaholic tendencies. These people who remind me to slow down and breathe and have fun. Take things as they come. Not store up trouble.
I start my year in the fall. New Years is just a quarterly check in. I do not make wishes when I blow out my candles. I make my resolution – the thing I will work on this year.
Here and now.
In my 37th year I will live in the here and now.
If you are reading this on your phone and my photo is upside down, I don’t know why. It’s in the correct orientation everywhere else. Maybe just turn your phone the other way?)