Happy (one-day-belated) birthday to me!

I turned 29 yesterday!

Birthday cake

The cake my sister Sarah baked me!! It was as delicious as it looks!

I have a not-quite-regular tradition of writing thoughtful blog entries on my birthday, but yesterday I wasn’t feeling particularly pensive. Honestly, I just wanted to relax and enjoy my friends and family and food — which I did, all day long. In past years I’ve used my birthday posts to look back on the past year, to reflect on how I’ve changed, and to share photos of myself through the years. These days I think I do quite enough of that on this blog already, so there are only two insights I feel compelled to share.

First, in rereading my previous years’ birthday posts, I was struck that last year I woke up thinking of the future, whereas yesterday my thoughts were only for the day. I guess party-planning played a role in that, but could it be that I’m also moving more toward living in the moment? That’s a lovely possibility.

Second, one thing I’ve really come to appreciate in the last year is just how much of my life I owe to others. I’ve been told that I am wise and well-balanced; I don’t deny I’m proud of myself and what I’ve done with my 29 years. But I’ve only been able to become who I am because of the foundation I’ve had. I’ve been given the best: loving parents and extended family, two sisters who are among my best friends, an incredible partner, the most wonderful friends anyone could ask for (including my online friends!), material comfort, good health, skills and talents and the opportunities to develop them. From before I was born, my understanding of the world has been formed only from love, joy, and security — is it any wonder I grew up happy, well-adjusted, and loving? There are choices in my life for which I can take credit, but there’s no substitute for the way we’re raised, and I’m so blessed that in my earliest years I never experienced anything that made me question the basic goodness of living. So many people have to teach that to themselves as adults, but I was given this gift from the start, again and again, so that it’s embedded in my being. I’ve been spared so much suffering, this way, and it awes and humbles me to know that I owe this all to my parents and everything and everyoneΒ  they’ve surrounded me with since I was born. I can’t ever give it back to them, so all I can do is foster more love in this world, in whatever ways I can.

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