I’m 54 today… no exclamation mark.
Typically, I make my birthday a big fricking deal. MY birthday!!! I spend the day doing exactly what I want. I like to plan a full day focused on myself. It typically is about reflection and goal setting plus a big ass party. After spending a day in contemplation, I would usually top it off with a big outing with my closest peeps. The fiesta would be something I’ve planned and saved for all year. One friend has called it my ‘annual wedding.’ And decades of birthdays have been a lot of hoopla with the singular focus being on me.
I’m certain having my birthday less than a week away from Christmas has made me birthday-challenged. My sensitivity to the ‘this is your birthday AND Christmas present’ turned into a seasonal funk to be avoided at all costs. I wanted a perfect birthday every year. To get it, I planned for it and dragged the peeps along for the ride. I’ve had plenty of spectacular birthdays from whirlyball to wine tastings to dinner on a beach. Yes, I’ve spoiled myself and encouraged others to do the same.
Last year, I knew I wouldn’t have a perfect birthday because the impossible happened. Trump was elected President. I wanted to skip my birthday because my seasonal funk was simmering into a full-blown depression. I contemplated just staying home but a few pals nudged me to do something. So, we ate Cuban and saw La La Land. SIDENOTE: Although the movie was s’cute, I wouldn’t say Oscar-worthy.
I also spent part of my birthday in forced contemplation. When you’re fearful of the state of the world, you don’t really want to think about it, but I did. I made broad goals on my 53rd birthday. I re-read this post today in evaluation of the past year. #1 success is the world and I survived a year of the Trump presidency. That accomplishment makes me feel like I could do anything.
I also have successfully not only begun watching CNN, I’ve turned it into a habit or borderline obsession. I’m more versed in the political scene than ever. I’m woke! I probably read a dozen or so books and my favorites were “Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates and “What Happened” by Hillary Clinton. Unfortunately, I didn’t write as much as I wanted. I tried out a hopeful series of A Letter to POTUS but he’s worst than I ever imagined. I stopped making that effort. I also majorly screwed up in theatre reviewing so I took some time off and am still wading in. My last and most important goal was to be kind. I continue to work on being kind. In this world, where greed and hate and negativity are seeping into every aspect, being kind is probably the only thing that I can really control. My response is my response. Even if my first impulse is to be mean or rude or impatient, I must find a way to be kind.
2018 has change written all over it. I feel new adventures coming my way. In preparation to be in balance and harmony on the journey, my plan is to simply…
*Be a student of life: I will read more, take a couple classes and travel to at least to one new country.
*Be an advocate for vulnerable populations: I will continue in public service within the nonprofit sector. I will work hard to fight for the rights of marginalized people. I will stand, speak and march for those being harmed by greed and hate.
*Be kind: I will have courage and be kind.