August 02, 2006
It's that special day of the year when I celebrate/mourn the ever increasingly distant moment of my birth and perfection of my birthday suit. The question pops up, "What do you want for your birthday?" and I wonder, by way of distraction, what would be the ultimate gift?
I doubt anyone is going to build me the Taj Mahal or put a car with a giant bow in my driveway (well maybe just the bow) or sing a breathy Happy Birthday to me a la Marilyn Monroe. Surprises are risky for control freaks like myself since I like everything done in a certain way and need at least 24 hours advance notice before a party to get a stain off my favorite dress and find someone who sees well enough to do my eyeliner for me. Being in the process of moving for the second time so far this summer, I certainly don't want to sweat the small stuff or at least carting it from house to house. I guess that leaves lightweight, expensive gifts, which can be pawned if necessary for the next mortgage payment.
At a certain point in our materialistic culture, you have to ask what is it that I really need? And for most of us it would be a short list, like a seamless push up bra or really good blender.
It's more a question of what would bring me joy and we are poor seekers of that in this day and age of busy, busy, busy. If I could set aside all my looming deadlines and turn off the stereo of complaints from negative people who live to make other people as miserable as themselves and go deep inside to a quiet sacred place, what would I find?
I imagine it would be a string of small satisfactory moments: the umpteenth yoga class where I finally learned to do a headstand, the week in June when every single one of my rose bushes (all in pots as they have to move with me) was in heaven-scented bloom, a quiet moment on the beach in the early morning when the sun wasn't too hot and the water wasn't too cold, and my dog and I looked over the ocean seeing the thousand points of light instead of the shadows in between. There is a strange pleasure in shutting my eyes and running full out (with apologies to children's sandcastles I take out in the process), an ode to letting go.
I still find immense satisfaction from a Candy Kitchen homemade mint chocolate chip ice cream cone and have yet to experience a bad massage, and when I emerge with a proper manicure and pedicure, I simply feel better about my place in the world. Every once in a while strangers smile in the street and I get the perfect parking place and a reader sends me an email that I made them laugh. All good stuff. And yet when I go to bed at night and wake up in the morning it is usually some stressful situation personally or professionally which is on my mind and none of the above.
So for one day — at least — I plan to ignore the stress, pay no heed to negativity, and embrace all small and large moments of peace and joy and hopefully, in turn, share those with everyone around me, and if anyone gets in the way of that, I will say, "**** you, it's my birthday."
As I write this, of course, the universe comes through and I just got a whole catering chorus singing "Happy Birthday" to me from the kitchens of Janet O'Brien. So where's the car?
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