Today is day 14 of NaBloPoMo. It’s also my birthday, and today I turn a half-century plus one. That’s what I told one of the boys I tutor yesterday when he asked how old I was turning. I watched the thrill brighten his face when he arrived at the answer.
“You’re 51!,” he proclaimed before he was quickly hushed by his older brother for being “rude.”
“No, he’s not rude,” I corrected, “I told him my age as a riddle, and he solved it. Plus, I have no problem being 51 because 51 is a pretty darn good age to be.” A cloud of consideration softened the sharp focus of the older boy as he pondered my words and, simultaneously, a tickle of excitement built inside of me. I’ve come to realize that the older I get, the more child-like my enthusiasm for my birthday grows. One might say I’m becoming more immature as I mature, and I might agree.
It is a privilege to turn 51. Many never see this birthday. Even more don’t like what they see when they reach 51. Heck, many don’t like what they see at 27! I, however, am thrilled to be celebrating my birthday and I have a plethora of related thoughts bouncing around in my head, screaming to be shared here.
Those will have to wait, though, for today I am taking the day to play and celebrate and I invite you to celebrate with me. Find something fun to do today; have cake for breakfast (or dinner, if you are reading this later), blow some bubbles, watch a favorite movie, release a balloon, color a picture, soak in a tub filled with bubbles, or pop a bottle of bubbly. I may do all of those. Whatever you do, be creative and be playful, because that is what I want for my birthday–a wave of playfulness!
Now, go play, but before you go, share with me what fun you will get into today.
Last night, I sat down to write a post for today. The words didn’t flow.
I tried to reply to the comments left on this blog. My eyes felt gritty and heavy.
I went to bed. Ideas and “to do’s” danced around in my head. I put in my ear buds and tried to drown the cacophony of thoughts with the sounds of rain and wind chimes. My sleep was restless.
In the wee hours of the morning, I stared at the ceiling, rejoined by ideas for blog posts and thoughts of chores. I felt inspired and headed down the stairs.
I made coffee while my computer booted up. My ideas raced; partial sentences, words, and incomplete paragraphs bumped into each other as I watched the last drips of coffee splash into the pot.
With renewed energy and focus, I sat down to write. I had/have so much to say about turning 50 today and, still, the words won’t flow.
I’ve attempted no fewer than 3 posts in the last 90 minutes, and you are not reading any of them. (So, I guess I’ve technically started 4. Say “hello” to #4.)
I felt my blood pressure rise in direct proportion to my impatience. I felt the pressure of a (self-imposed) 6AM deadline loom over my shoulder like the grim reaper. I tried to force my way through the blocks, and still the words didn’t flow.
So, I did what any good writer would do; I refilled my coffee and started with a (this) fresh page. I got out of my own way.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I can tend to be my own biggest road block. I don’t give up easily, which is a double-edged sword in life. Some days, that sword cuts through challenges and obstacles with precision. Some days, I’m the only one cut by it.
Last night, and this morning, I had ideas I wanted to get down. I thought I could easily “slap together” a post and beat a deadline. I thought I would have no fewer than 3 posts written before the first hint of orange touched the eastern sky. I thought I would even have time left over to reply to yesterday’s comments and still meditate before the rest of the house awakened and the demands of the day crashed my solitude.
Until, a puppy needed to be taken out, and out-of-reach toys needed to be retrieved, before he needed to go out again.
Until, I needed a refill on my coffee.
Until, the old man kitty was so insistent on attention, he sat on my keyboard.
Until, I couldn’t slap 2 words together that belong in the same sentence.
Until, I realized I was trying to force.
Small nicks from my sword quietly started to take a toll. I felt them as the voices of negativity and doubt emerged in the back of my thoughts, drowning the voices of creativity and excitement. I tried to plow through, be done, and move on to the next _________ this morning. I wanted to force through the blocks, rather than let the words reveal themselves to me, on their time. I wanted to adhere to my agenda, rather than embrace the ease of letting the day unfold.
Maybe that’s what last night and this morning have been about; life is much sweeter (and certainly less stressful) when I put down my sword. I don’t need to be a warrior, always ready with brute force to push the obstacles out of my way. Sure, perseverance is important. Ask my kids, and they’ll tell you I’ve drilled that into their heads. But, so is recognizing when to step back and follow the course God is unfolding for me.
Growing up, birthdays were always a big deal in our house. Though there were no overblown parties, mom made our birth-day special. She used to tell me it’s because we all deserve at least one day out of the year we (the family/world) celebrate the gifts the birthday child has brought to this earth. I can’t help but feel her with me this morning. I’m certain I heard her whisper, “Happy birthday, Darling” in my ear before I left my bed. And, as I sat down to write, without conscious thought I set my “white noise” to the sounds of rain and loons this morning. Loons, my dad’s favorite bird, made me realize he is here too, reminding me there is nothing so important in life, you can’t break course and follow the ease.