I am writing this post, on my forty-second birthday, surrounded by reminders of what makes such a day special. I do love birthdays, though enthusiasm for my own has waned since my children came on the scene. My birthday is now more quiet and reflective, less piñatas and punch. I like my birthday “evolution,” and today has been perfect.
My birthday started off with two small people, snuggling into my bed (though it was a ridiculous hour), murmuring “Mama.”
Later, I went with my mom, sister-in-law, and daughter to get manicures and pedicures – the first time for my daughter who milked up the attention like a Hollywood starlet.
We spent the afternoon, hanging out. My husband bustled around, fixing things for my mom, taking care of the kids, and making dinner reservations.
My mom glowed. Having her kids and grandkids together—with a to do list of only “be together” and “play mini-golf”—has made her very, very happy.
My Facebook feed buzzed with “happy birthday” messages from friends—both new and old, colleagues, and family.
We all gathered together for cupcakes with candles for me and for my sister-in-law and brother who celebrated their third wedding anniversary today, making this a celebration for our entire family.
There have been many kisses, laughter at silly jokes, and generous, thoughtful gifts.
But, most of all, there has been family. And, that is why my day has been special.
On this day, at the start of a new year for me, I’m stepping up on my proverbial “soap box.” At 42, I’ve acquired a good amount of wisdom, had days of joys, and moments of deep sadness. So, I can say, and my wrinkles can confirm, that I have earned the right to offer up some advice about life.
On the small stuff:
- It’s really is okay to wear white after Labor Day.
- You can never have too many Christmas decorations.
- Champagne does make events more festive.
- Wash your face every night before bed.
- Change the sheets on your bed at least once a week.
For the more profound:
- Practice forgiveness. Most of all, forgive yourself.
- Say yes to new adventures. Jump on a plane to Paris for the weekend, travel to Asia and Africa, go the places you’ve dreamed about.
- Read to your kids from birth; it makes all the difference.
- Own your mistakes. Apologize.
- Marry someone you respect and admire, who makes you laugh, and who makes you a better person.
Most of all, for me, and perhaps for you, surround yourself with people who love you, who think you are unique, who recognize and see you. Whether your family started at birth or was made along the way, hold onto your people. Love them. Cherish them.
That’s it for advice. For now. Perhaps I’ll have more at 43. Until then, I’m hoping for a new year of calm and of joy, and I wish for you the same.