As a Celebrant, I’m all for people recognizing (joyfully!) the anniversary of their birth. However, as a “woman of a certain age,” I have a lot less enthusiasm in recognizing my own birthday. But this year, I decided to try a little different spin on the day, focusing less on the number and more on the intention of the upcoming year.
This was not a “milestone” birthday as we say in the business, so I didn’t have any extra baggage on that front. I tried to conceive of this birthday as one of the many new year’s I like to celebrate through the year (January 1, of course, plus the Lunar New Year, Jewish New Year and so on). So, I tried to take a gentle, loving sweep of my last year on earth, and how I might like to make the next one, God willing I see it through, better. I polled my friends about gifts they had given to themselves in the past year, looking for ideas. (A note to readers, my friends came up with nice ideas including the following: returning to school, taking a major travel adventure, seeking a new holistic health approach, de-cluttering home space, and shifting time priorities). This gave me good food for thought, and so I made a mental list of good, noble, healthy things I wanted to do for myself over the next year. I’m pleased to say, my goals did not relate to money, “outward” signs of success, or those 15 pounds I’d like to lose, but my objectives were about the inner work that gets left by the wayside, in our hurried and overbooked lives.
Part of my plan for this coming year, involved beginning, at long last, an interfaith seminary program. As it turned out, my birthday was on the second day of class. While normally, I would sweep this little birthday under the rug, I decided to take the opposite approach with my new spiritually-inclined friends. So I proudly showed up at class today with two delicious cakes from my favorite local bakery, Two Little Red Hens. But rather than wishing myself well on the cakes with a typical “Happy Birthday” inscription, I chose two different messages: “Celebrate Everything” and “To a Wonderful Year.” The inspiring and kind director of the program, announced my impromptu birthday celebration and my 50+ classmates sang a stirring rendition of “Happy Birthday.” I can’t remember when I’ve been so beautifully enveloped by the joy of the anniversary of my birth.