Friday, October 2, 2009
Today is my birthday.
Birthdays in my family have always been a big deal. My mom threw the BEST birthday parties—all my friends told me so. As I've gotten older, MUCH older, I find birthdays bring as much reflection as they do celebration. Last year, for my birthday, I moved from South Lake Tahoe to the Sonoma wine country. Something very powerful was happening inside me that told me it was simply time for me to focus on ME.
Both daughters were away at college. My husband was still entranced with life on the mountain. I was WAY past done with snow. So I packed up and moved. I assumed my family would join me when they were ready. My husband visited most weekends. Within two months one daughter moved home. The other daughter followed suit the month after that. They were regrouping. In August, one daughter left again for a different college. Just last month my husband decided the mountain had lost its allure and he moved here too. People come to the front door, look in, and ask if we just moved in. In a way, I suppose we have.
Monday will mark the one year anniversary of my living in this new home. The first two months, while I lived here alone, I discovered pieces of myself that I'd allowed to be shoved to the back of the closet—never quite discarded but certainly neglected and forgotten until I pulled them out and tried them on again. Some no longer fit and I was ready to let them go. But others made me feel young, playful, creative, feisty, mysterious and very much alive. After those two months I felt like I'd made a new friend, one I like a lot and don't plan to let go of again.
Along with rediscovering myself, I've spent much of the past year reinventing myself. I had thought I'd just go out and get a job once I moved in here but the economy soured about the time I arrived here and that plan hit a brick wall. So I took up writing. I attended some writing classes, joined a few writing groups and, as of last weekend, I am now a published writer. True, it is only one very short story in an anthology but it is a credit. I have begun. My short story, "Tailed By A Dog", which first appeared on my blog is now in Vintages Voices: Centi’Anni: May You Live 100 Years. You can even buy it at bookstores. How cool is that!!??
I was greeted this morning with two singing birthday cards, a giant, translucent butterfly balloon and a lovely bouquet of yellow roses (my favorite!) interspersed with gorgeous purple irises from my husband and daughter. Then I discovered a number of people had posted "Happy Birthday!" wishes on Facebook. This was a first for me. Only recently did I dip my toe into that huge pool and I still feel clumsy and awkward trying to navigate around it. But it was nice to hear from old friends. My good friend Cynthia from A Shimmy In My Spirit returned from vacation and took me out for chips and margueritas. Throughout the day I got calls from other friends and last night my brother took me to dinner and tonight my husband took me out. You can see the photo above that he took when the restaurant brought me dessert with a candle. Tomorrow I will lunch with both daughters and my husband before we attend the big CAL v. USC football game. A weekend of celebration and it is very good indeed to feel so spoiled and so loved.
As I reflect upon the year ahead I am excited for all the possibilities it holds. I am writing a novel as well as a screenplay. Already I have the sequel in mind for the novel. My husband is starting a new business in town. Life feels very full. And because of the journey I began a year ago I have a wonderful, lively new/old friend whom I am loving hanging out with—ME!
So, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!