I’ve maintained for some time now that the older I get the longer I get to celebrate. This year I’m pushing that edge with everything I’ve got. I’ve got a lot to celebrate!
I feel good. There have been many years where I haven’t. Two years ago I was recovering from surgery. Five years ago I couldn’t move. 25 years ago (or was it 26) my birthday party felt like a wake because I was in chemotherapy. Feeling good, willing to go out, having fun finding dress-up clothes, those are all worth celebrating.
I still have family. I started celebrating my birthday at the beginning of the month when I made a cake and packed it up to my parent’s house. My Mom and I share a fondness for german chocolate and a homemade cake is particularly appreciated by both of us. At this point neither of us needs a cake to ourselves so we share. Her birthday is in December and mine is the end of February so there is usually a freezer involved along the way. Having her around to share and appreciate the cake she taught me to make is definitely worth celebrating.
My kids seem to like spending time with me. I got Orion buying me flowers for valentine’s day and Karina’s “step-son” picking out roses for Oma’s birthday. We all went out to dinner (restaurant week falls close enough to my birthday to make that easier). Karina has also just said “hey, want to go out for drinks” and swept me up late night just because it’s my birthday. Orion and I have been to the movies, twice, and he’s also joined me out to brunch with friends. All worth celebrating.
My friends are finding time to “catch-up” I’ve had three brunches this month. I’ve had lunch and a trip to the Swedish Museum. I’ve had dinner with some old friends, and am still making plans into March. I’ve spent a lot of time on the telephone. Birthday presents have appeared unexpectedly. I have acquired a significant amount of birthday cheesecake. It’s really nice to know that people I care about are thinking about me. It’s great to touch base and reconnect. I’m not good at reaching out so having people reach out to me is very much worth celebrating.
I know that extending my birthday celebration means sometimes I decide it’s about me when really it’s not. Today (Monday 27th) I’m having “birthday breakfast” at Gilda’s Club. It’s really the monthly “Euro-Cafe Social”, but hey for me it’s birthday breakfast. I’ll get to visit with people I work with and when I call it birthday breakfast they’ll all say happy birthday.
It feels good to be acknowledged and it gives me a lot of reason to be grateful. I have places to go, things to do and people to do them with. I have generous friends and family. I have enough energy to go out and enough control to bring home leftovers. Extending the celebration means I get to really spend time with people rather than being overwhelmed by a crowd at one big bash. I am truly blessed.
Happy birthday to me.
I don’t make New Year’s resolutions for a lot of reasons. The biggest is that I don’t keep them, so why make them. Not that I object to having goals and dreams, but that success builds on success.
I’m much happier with big dreams and small achievable goals than with the notion of creating a resolution for change at a time of year when I’m already reeling. I find it difficult to start something new at the same time that I’m trying to re-coop – (physically and financially) from the holiday hoopla.
This particular year, this particular “cultural transition” from 2016 to 2017 has been filled with a lot of public angst. The notion that 2016 was “so bad” that 2017 “has to be better”. I’ve always been reluctant to tempt fate that way.
There’s a lot of fear going into 2017. I’ve written about a shift in tone in human interactions. I’ve talked about the disenfranchised who feel particularly targeted and threatened by the new political climate. I’ve got personal fears as well, with aging parents and tightening purse strings. My “safety nets” are not what they used to be.
Sometimes I think I talk because I need to hear what I am saying. I talk (and write) a lot about practicing gratitude to fight depression. Fortunately I got to spend New Years Eve with some lovely people who chose to apply that practice.
It was an event designed to set the tone for 2017. The dinner guests were chosen specifically to suit our host’s preferences. No one was there “just because”. The decor was elegant, the food abundant, exotic, and heart warmingly delicious, and the atmosphere both festive and a little nostalgic. There was warmth and laughter and acceptance and I was grateful to be included.
When the champagne was poured we went around the table and each had to talk about something wonderful that happened for them in 2016. There were several people who had milestone moments that they could point to. A few of the guests spoke of unexpected opportunities that had become available to them. Clearly, Facebook memes aside, not everyone had a horrible year.
I didn’t have a “horrible” year either, but I did have a really difficult time finding something to be grateful for. Then I stopped going over the events of the year that I recalled (most of which were attached in some way to a funeral) and looked at the room.
I got to have a night out. I got to have a few days without Orion in tow. I got to have a beautiful fancy dinner that I didn’t have to pay for. I got to have an opportunity to dig up the dress-up clothes. I got to reconnect with a friend (our host) and acknowledge that connection with hope to deepen our relationship in the future. I got to have fun. I got to be in the room.
Then I looked back at the year at all the other friends I’ve connected with. I looked at the new friendships I’ve worked at strengthening. I looked at all the “rooms” where I’ve had the privilege of being included. There have been a lot. Even those funerals provided opportunities for me to reconnect.
This is what I’m grateful for and what I hope to find more of in 2017. Connection.
Happy New Year!
I often have a lot of drama in my life. I’m not really a drama queen. I don’t go out of my way to look for dramatic things to happen. I tend to underplay rather than overplay the things that are going on in my life. Even when I sound dramatic “My kitchen cupboards are literally falling off the walls!” I’m not dramatizing. I do know what the word literally means and am using it appropriately.
I noticed this week that the drama in my life right now isn’t actually mine. It’s rather refreshing. There’s plenty going on. My parents are exhausting themselves with their political activities. My daughter is working herself into the ground. I have friends in the hospital, going through divorce, fighting cancer, dealing with family change (dying parents, kids graduating). I’m surrounded, but it’s not mine.
It’s not that it doesn’t impact me. Last Friday was National Donut Day.
My daughter bakes donuts. Guess who got Minnie? I helped my parents out where I could with accessibility issues. I take late night phone calls from my friends. I can do that, because right now it’s not my drama.
Orion spent the weekend with his Reach for Resources gang, so I was on my own schedule rather than his. I went out to eat Friday (with a friend who needed an ear), Saturday (with my parents who needed a ride), and Sunday (to celebrate a birthday). I got a couple long leisurely baths, a late morning sleep-in, and the opportunity to putter without feeling the need to accomplish anything in particular.
I’m finding compassion much easier when I’m not also overwhelmed. “Not my circus, not my monkeys.” gives me the opportunity to listen, be a resource, and also set my own boundaries. I can be available without being “caught up” in the drama. I am grateful!
We’re in that space between the winter solstice and the New Year. Unless you are a committed last-minute shopper, most of the hustle of the season has ended. It is time to raise a cup, relax, and enjoy the celebrations. It is a time of quiet, a breath before the round of New Years eve parties and Super Bowl buffets.
It is the darkest time of the year. The solstice marks the sun’s return, but we won’t really notice that the days are getting longer for at least a month. The holiday lights reflected on the snow bring a hint of magic to the darkness. It is a time to review the past year and make plans (goals and dreams) for the next.
This is a family time of year. That family may be blood, or may just be your close friends. But it is a time to connect with those we love and care about. It is a time to share, not only in our exchange of presents but in our presence.
The darkness can be bittersweet, especially for those who have suffered a recent loss. I have had years where much of my silence was missing companions. I have had years where I couldn’t afford to purchase gifts and had to make due. I have had years where my children and I were adopted by secret Santa’s who made our holidays bountiful in spite of our poverty.
At the heart of the darkness is the light that comes from gratitude. I am grateful for the loved ones in my life. I am grateful to have the opportunity to spend time and share laughter. I am grateful to have food, and warmth, and shelter, knowing there are many who go without. I am grateful to have the energy to participate in the holiday season in ways I couldn’t even imagine a year ago.
I am grateful to people I’ve never met who have bought my books and who read my blog. I’m grateful for the opportunities and ability to express myself and for my voice to be heard. I’m grateful for the family and friends who support me, promote me, and direct others to my work.
I am grateful to still be open to growth and learning. I’m grateful for the opportunities I have to further my education either through independent research or through classes. I’m grateful for the writers who inspire me, who make me think, and who challenge my world view. I’m also grateful for the one’s who express what I feel more eloquently than I could manage on my own.
May you find the space to take a breath in this part of the seasons celebrations. May you welcome in the magic, and the darkness, and the light. May you find renewal at the center of the unknown. Please cherish this Yuletide Season. Happy Holidays!
I’m not burying the lead today: My book, Manifest Divinity, is now out, released, available for purchase!!!
I’ve opened a new fan page on face book Lisa Spiral and encourage everyone to like it.
I’m Celebrating!! and scrambling to plan some kind of book release/local author/book signing event.
Sadly, what I’m not doing is a lot of actual writing. Go figure.
My hope is that I’ll be back on the keyboards pounding away this week and that by next week the blog will have, maybe not more excitement, but more content.
In the meantime I sincerely hope that you will spread the word, buy the book and encourage others to as well. I’d love for some of you readers to write up a review for Amazon (I’ll remind you in a few months I promise. 🙂 ) Like the face book page and stay in touch.
Thank you all for your great encouragement and support!!