August 28, 2016

The First Day of the Rest of My Life


I celebrated my birthday yesterday, August 27th. I hated my birthday as a kid. It was the week before school started, and everyone was out of town. Often, I was out of town, in a strange place with my parents and siblings. I wanted to be with my friends. 

Many years later, I loved my birthday. It often fell during Burning Man, or the week of set up. Suddenly, my birthday was where I got to party with thousands of my closest friends from all over the planet. 

Yesterday’s birthday was hard on several accounts. I’m going to Burning Man late this year. I don’t know how to plan a birthday for myself at home. Also, more importantly, I didn’t want to celebrate my birthday this year. It was my mother who told me how important it was that I celebrate my birthday. “Not everyone gets to grow old,” she said. 

Ten weeks younger than me, I’m now an age that Rupert will never get to be. He’s been dead almost two months. He won’t turn 46 on November 7th. 

So, taking Mom’s sage advice, I had lunch with a couple of girlfriends and invited friends over for a BBQ. By 7pm, the kitchen and the deck were filled with friends. I didn’t take any photos, but I did spend some time just looking at us. I saw the beautiful faces of the friends I love,  chatting and laughing in small groups, patterns and fabrics and brightly colored hair and Fluevogs and silly buttons. We’ve mostly known each other for at least a decade, some two decades or more. We are in our 40s mostly, and we are a really tight community. 

One by one, someday we will all be gone. 

It was a fun party. It was great to see everyone. It was important to celebrate the fact that I am alive. I am privileged to be 46 years old. 

This was an important first step in the first day of the rest of my life. 

Today, I take the next step. My daughter and I are flying back east for boarding school. We’ve been working for this day for nearly a year now. Tutors and testing and research and tours and visits and interviews and revisits and waiting for the day all the schools will let us know if she’s been accepted. And here we are, on the plane, awaiting take off. 

Yesterday was my birthday. Today is the first day of the rest of my life, when I get to ask myself, “What’s the next right thing for me?”

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