April 14, 2011

The Final Days of 36...

I was born on Tuesday, April 16, 1974.  I will turn 37 in 2 days.  Getting older is such a trip!

My mom and me when I was a baby. One of my favorite pictures of all time!

I'm feeling very introspective.  Happy too.  I just came through a few weeks where I wasn't sure about myself, my value and even what I'm doing with my life.  But this week I've somehow (did my angels whisper in my ear again?) gained a renewed sense of who I am and what matters to me. Oh I hate it when I don't feel content!

There's a lot that's ambiguous or vague and I can't put my finger on it.  But one thing I've noticed is a shedding of expectation.  For example, expectation of how my birthday should be.  I used to think about it in a very selfish way.  Not that it's wrong to be selfish - or rather, self-centered - on your birthday.  But it's actually not as satisfying if you really think about it.  I've learned that it's really much better to approach it with just a sense of openness to whatever it brings.  Sure, have an idea of what you want to do or would like to receive as gifts, but as far as how others respond to your birthday.....how to explain this.....

Of course I want my friends and family to remember my birthday and want to celebrate it with me.  It makes me feel special and loved and I really like feeling that.  And it would indeed hurt if nobody cared.  But I don't want anybody doing anything out of obligation because I expect it.  I used to.  For years and years I thought my birthday was my one special day each year and dammit I deserve it!  I spend the rest of the year putting others first so if I wanna take this one day, I can right?

Well.... I will always think that everyone deserves to be a little spoiled for their birthday.  But now I realize that ME, ME, ME mentality isn't  a good place to come from, for my heart to dwell.  I don't think I'm the first person to figure this out.  It seems this is a piece of wisdom we all must learn.  Now I understand that what's most important is feeling gratitude for my life and the people in it.  Everything else is cake - birthday cake!  Haha!

I asked my Washington girlfriends to get together for a dinner to commemorate my birthday and we did on Tuesday.  I told them to not worry about giving me gifts, that their presence and their smiling faces was all I needed.  And for the first time in my life I sincerely meant it!  Miracle of miracles, they were all able to come and it meant so much to me.  The 5 of us sitting around Jessica's kitchen table eating, chatting and drinking wine was perfect!

My J Ho made me curtains for my bedroom that I think are going to look perfect and I can't wait to get a couple curtain rods to put them up.  Hopefully I will be able to do that with the Target gift card my in-laws are sending.  I also told them they didn't need to worry about giving me anything (for reasons other than unselfishness), but if they insisted, I do have new curtains to hang.  I don't think J Ho is capable of not giving people gifts.  One year I just didn't have the money to send her anything so I told her she wasn't allowed to buy me anything when my birthday rolled around.  So what did she do?  She made me a little book of recipes with just her computer and some scrapbooking paper she had.  Makes me all the more grateful to have acquired the skill of knitting because even when you're low on money, yarn can be had pretty inexpensively!

Another thing I've already received is a very mushy card and check from my mom.  The words in this card are so wonderful and a real gift in themselves:

For your birthday,
I wish you the confidence
to begin this year
as you would open a gift,
certain that it holds
something special just for you.

I wish you
strong trust in yourself
and faith in the future,
the belief that you will make
the right choices
to bring you closer
to the happiness you deserve.

I wish you
friends to surround you
in the circle of their caring and love,
and people to help you
laugh at life.

Most of all,
I wish you could see
the beautiful woman I see
when I look at you -
the remarkable,
irreplaceable person
who adds so much
to so many lives !

I don't share these words to toot my own horn or say "look at how much my mom loves me!"  It's that I just so appreciate the words and I appreciate when someone tells another person how they feel.  Words are very powerful.  They say actions speak louder, and that's often true, but I think words matter too.  Reading this card made me feel so good!

For my actual birthday we are planning to take a day trip to Leavenworth, WA.  "We" being me, Mark, the kids and my dad.  This will be our first time checking out this little town in the Cascades that is modeled after a Bavarian village.  I've heard lots of cool things and it should be fun!

"Youth is a disease from which we all recover."
~ Dorothy Fulheim

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