A Birth and a Day

Today is my birthday and I don’t want a present. Unlike some who choose New Year’s for reflection and resolution, for me, it is on my birthday when what I want is to contemplate what’s been and what’s to be. It’s when a flood of memories come untethered and invite themselves in for a cup of coffee, or better yet, a glass of wine and a good look-see. It is a teary endeavor; a cinematic epic worthy of bowls of popcorn and a tissue or two. For I have walked many roads, birthed and raised a child, sung Judy Garland favorites on stage, found and created family, tried my hand and humility at stand-up, failed at downhill skiing, learned and taught how to auto detail, wrote from my heart, started new chapters repeatedly, cried at deep loss, held hands I never wanted to let go, laughed so hard my reality shifted, and suffered more than a few fools. And I am grateful. Grateful for this big mess of awkward unknowing we call life and for the gift of grace to live it.

The people are the best part of this thought parade. The irrepressible and singular characters who make up my story. They are the ones worthy of tribute, fondness, and sometimes an Oscar. Think about all the people in your life, who along with helping to shape and form you, are the ones who planted ideas in your head, feelings in your heart, and walked side by side with you in all shades of times. I have long believed that what counts in life are our relationships and not things. This is a truth as clear to me as the boxelder tree I see standing outside my window. And yet, I forget. In my humanness, I get sidetracked by stuff. The stuff of life that is the never ending flow of responsibilities: todos, have-tos, shoulds, musts, and the “oh my God, I forget, is it too late to do?” list of things we all handle. But today, ah, today is a glorious time to pause and namaste each and every person I have known, bowing to the divine in them, the light that is the source of all brilliance in my life.

My birthday meditation drifts to what’s next, pondering the future I get to create, imaging what’s possible and alchemizing it into expectation. This is a craft worth practicing, for let’s face it, at a certain point, we stop jumping up and down on our birthday. At times, aging can seem like a Quentin Tarantino movie I’m afraid to see. Getting older seems great at 10. Times that by five or more and the aging train seems to be hell bent on picking up speed and racing to the finish. Try as we may to flag the conductor for a more leisurely pace, there is no way to control it. We’re best advised to buckle our seat belts and enjoy the view. Thus why this birthday contemplation comes perfectly timed. In forging the future, when better to acknowledge what I already have? The favor and blessing to be able to wake up tomorrow and feel the floor beneath my feet so I can take another step into this story I am living. At any age, there is so much more to be lived.

My future includes the hard plans, you know, the nuts and bolts of career, travel, retirement, etc. But it is the soft goods I’m more interested in - the people I am privileged to watch over, the anticipated laughter and silliness I adore, the words that I can sculpt into meaning, the love I get to express. I want all of that and more. Yes, please. Today is my birthday and I don’t want a present. I just want to be present.