Musings on a birthday spent like no other — in a time like no other — reveal unexpected gifts to be opened
Yes, it’s my birthday and this wasn’t exactly what I was planning…but, the virus never asked my opinion. Ha. I held out hope that there was an inkling of possibility that this pandemic might be over by the time my birthday came around (wishful thinking, I know) as visions of celebrations danced in my head.
Yes, I’m a lover of birthdays…especially mine. I don’t sit around and wait for magical things to unfold…I plan. I think about what would make me feel celebratory, what would feel good, how I want to usher in a new year. Your birthday is technically your New Year after all.
I like making events special for myself and others. I think you get it…I’m a doer, planner, organizer in all things birthday and life…COVID-19 or not.
Interestingly though, like everyone else — I’ve had some extra time on my hands to reflect about a lot of things. When I look back upon the 6 weeks leading up to today, I now recognize an interesting thread that wove through it all: nothing was falling into place easily.
It was strange, but I ignored it. You know there are times when everything slips right into its spot, all green lights, smooth sailing, you have an extra pep in your step — and then there are other times; closed doors, nothing jives and you feel disconnected, weighed down and a bit antsy. That’s how it’s been for me.
Travel dates to visit my boy in college weren’t jiving. Airfare to visit friends and spend a few days in the sunshine for my birthday was exorbitant. A much-anticipated trip to London with my Mother and sister felt discombobulated. Work deadlines felt overwhelming and I began to question what I was doing with my life. It was all subtly misaligned and sending me signals.
But as usual, I just kept going. I disregarded the cues I was receiving, stayed busy, kept my foot on the gas pedal and figured it would come together eventually. I was a bit curious but just kept on truckin’. Sound familiar? Then the rug was pulled from underneath my feet and it all went away. I never could’ve predicted that the reason I wasn’t going to be in Miami visiting my son or celebrating was because I would be in quarantine and he would be home. And the rest is history, falling by the wayside as well.
So where does that leave us?
Watch for the signs. We have so many intuitive tools that lay dormant and untapped within us. We are all psychic, connected and continuously receiving messages — if we choose to engage. It doesn’t mean we will be supplied with a roadmap and directions, or that we can necessarily stop events from unfolding. But we will operate from a sturdier foundation — one of more observation and less reaction, more trust and less frustration. I call it tapping into an innate knowingness that I will be OK. In fact…I am already OK.
I’ll admit, the thought of spending my birthday cooped up in my house without all my usual fanfare, cocktails and friends initially made feel a bit pouty…No fair! I want a do-over.
But over the course of the last few weeks, as all the things I couldn’t possibly live without (and yes, note the sarcasm) slipped away…I was OK. Even when I got swept up into the buying and provisioning frenzy…I looked in my cabinets and realized…I was OK, more than OK.
As I’ve written throughout these weeks, as life has constricted and many of our usual tricks of distraction have been removed — we are left to look around. Look in the mirror. Look at your familial relationships and your partner. Look at your professional interactions and commitments. Look at your self-care, self-love, self-agency. Look at where you are placing your attention. What do you see?
This year will certainly be different. There may be no presents, flowers, cocktails and festivities. No one can shop. Even online deliveries have become complicated.
But I ask myself, what is it that you really need?
Stumped by this question, I remain silent.
I need what I already have; health, love, passion. I don’t need anything that contributes to landfill. No, I need things that support my health, my love, my passion for life, work and helping others. I give thanks for all those who helped me get here, from my ancestors who laid the groundwork to the people who have even caused me the greatest harm. They are all a part of this story, my journey, this technicolor dreamcoat of mine — those who helped shape my resilience, my heart and my soul.
This birthday will be unlike that of any other. I’m not resisting what is, just curious about where it is leading — what is possible, what it is calling me to see. When I blow out my candles I want to give thanks to all the versions of me who stumbled and fell, who dusted off and got back up, who felt despair, broken, unloved, insecure, unworthy, talent-less, and invisible. I see you ALL. I thank you ALL for being the pieces of this puzzle that culminated here. You were all necessary. Happy Birthday to ALL of me.
This time of discomfort has made us all squirm in our own ways. I’m witnessing loss as people are forced to make shifts — giving up homes, jobs, financial security. And that’s a sobering reality. Our world is in flux and so are we. But it is also such an incredible opportunity to reintroduce yourself to your Best Self. Hey you, do you remember me?
What is it that you really need?
What is it that you truly desire?
Who is it that you want to be?
Go ahead. Step back into all of that. Though the world is in a state of instability, it doesn’t mean that you have to be.
Many of us have been stuck in seeing life one way. The events of late have shown us differently though, haven’t they? Remember, when we feel loss…we also gain space to fill. We can be the architects of our next chapters.
Yes, today is my day (and I also share it with a few other special people — Jeff, Evelyn, Jennifer — Happy Birthday loves), but each day is a new day to figure out what’s working / what not so much.
Each day is a chance to get it right, or at least better than the day before — to peel back the layers of busyness, self-medication, wounding, limited-thinking — and to embrace the only stuff that matters: What we make of it.
WOW…another spin around the sun under my belt. Am I going to lament about what I don’t have, what I haven’t achieved or become…or am I going to have my birthday cake and eat it too, pat myself on the back and say, “Go get-em girl! You’ve still got a lot of living to do.”
Glass ½ empty or ½ full? Gotta run…I have some (OK a lot) of candles to blow out and some living to do. Thanks for being a part of this community that fills my soul. I count you amongst my blessings and I’m very thankful for YOU.
What’s popping up in your COVID-19 quarantining experience? Are you allowing things to be seen, heard, felt and emerge within your own life? Please share how this is unfolding for you and how you are navigating this all in the comments below, the place we can still reach out and touch each other.