Today is my birthday and I see real signs of improvement in my approach to my birthday this year. I am someone who takes birthdays very seriously and I think that is something that will not change. My family is very into birthdays and growing up I still remember the special meals each of us requested every year on our birthdays. My meal request was always linguini with white clam sauce, artichokes, and banana cream pie. My brother-in-law remembers meeting five-year-old Phoebe and laughing at the fact that I request linguini with clam sauce for my birthday dinner.
This is the first year where I didn’t have that child-like excitement counting down the days and obnoxiously telling everyone that my birthday was in a week, two days, etc. At first I wondered if this was a bad sign. If I wasn’t excited about my birthday what was I going to be excited about? Then I realized that this is simply a more mature approach to birthdays (or so I hope).
When are younger we reflect on our birthdays based on what presents we got, or later in life based on how many facebook wall posts we got, but at this age I am focusing more on the quality of the relationships in my life and the real acts of love I receive. There will always be the disappointments that are easy to harp on. The no shows at birthday parties or the brief wall posts instead of a more personalized way of reaching out, but it is as if I suddenly realized that spending energy thinking about these things is entirely useless.
My birthday this year has been lovely and drama free (in contrast to birthdays past which result in tears 90% of the time because of high expectations that can never be met). Although I did feel anxious all day before I had my birthday party once my guests showed up I was able to just be in the present moment. We drank my new signature drink (Moscow mules) and ate appetizers (my friend gave me this amazing cheese plate that you can write on with chalk!). Shaun outdid himself with a cookie cake! We didn’t go out, we didn’t get crazy, we just enjoyed each other’s company. I got lots of texts the next day with people telling me how much fun they had and really isn’t that what we all want to hear? I received the sweetest compliments from one of my best friends saying that I really know how to bring people together in such a fun way. That is a birthday success in my book!
This morning I awoke to my phone ringing at 7am and when I answered I was greeted with my nephew belting out happy birthday with such gusto and spunk that I almost forgot it was 7am! This call was followed by other calls from friends and family, including two more little “happy birthdays” shouted over the phone by my nieces.
I finally feel that I am successful at being present and appreciating where I am at right now. Today Shaun and I went for a walk around our beautiful city and I just appreciated the fall day and being with the man I love. We got breakfast sandwiches for lunch and even a side of French toast. My whole life I have told myself to not worry about the little things, but I think what I really should be learning is to focus on the little things. The hugs from friends, bottles of malbec carried into our apartment because they know its my favorite, wall posts from old and new friends, phone calls from four kids under five, cards from grandparents, and Shaun whispering to me “its your birthday” several times throughout the day because he knows it will make me smile.
Picture in our doorway from my birthday party: