Today marks my 57th lap around the sun — my birthday. I’ve always taken some time leading up to my birthday to stop and reflect on where I am at this moment. Where I’ve been. And what lies ahead. This time I get to do it digitally.
What am I proudest of at this moment? The fact that I’m building a wonderful life with my husband. A partnership that feels more balanced and equal than any previous relationship. But I am so grateful for what I learned from each of those men (and a few women) that prepared me to openly love myself enough to love George so completely.
And the friendships I’ve nurtured over the years. One of my biggest joys at our wedding was seeing people who never met before, but are an important part of my life, laughing and joking with each other. All the pieces of my life came together that day. Friends from as far back as high school and college, enjoying friends as recent as a few months ago. It was a testament to a life well lived. And something I am very proud of.
And what’s ahead? It’s a bit sobering to realize there is more runway behind me then there is ahead of me. It doesn’t scare me, but makes me value every moment. I find myself watching the people and things around me more closely than I have before. I smile more. Say hello often and appreciate the little things as I walk along the street or ride the subway. I’m trying to slow down and take things in. Think more. Be present. Engage. Say hello to the barista, look into their eyes and really mean it. It’s certainly easier since I’m not distracted by the stress of working full-time right now, but I hope it’s something I can keep as a habit when I do go back to work.
One of the best parts about birthdays in this digital age we live in is Facebook. Once a year, everyone comes out of the woodwork to wish you happy birthday. It’s pretty cool because invariably someone who you haven’t heard from since last year will post something. I take the time to read and respond to every wish and it makes me smile. It is truly one of the highlights of my birthday. This year I’m going to steal an idea from someone that I think is really cool. I’m going to ask my Facebook friends to share a memory or moment that’s stuck with them from our relationship. It doesn’t have to be epic (though that works too), but it will be a way to feel a little piece of our connection on my birthday. At this point in my life, that’s the greatest gift I could ask for. All that truly matters in the end is that I loved and was loved.
Today’s theme — Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy underwear. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Show up and make the most of life now. Don’t phone it in. My father always told us that growing old beats the alternative — dying young.