April is the month of birthdays in our family. One of my cousins was born on April Fool’s Day, my sister was born on the 2nd and another one of my cousins and I share a birthday on the 3rd. Add to that another handful of cousins and my dad, and it’s easy to see why I always think of April as “Birthday Month.”
So, today I’m 36 years old. I’ve never been one of those people who bemoans my birthday. I’ve always chosen to see it as an accomplishment…something to be celebrated. “Wheeee! Another trip around the sun!” (Sidenote: Did you know Google personalizes it’s doodle for you on your birthday? I didn’t! It even says my name when I hover over it. That’s SO cool!)
One of my closest friends always frets about her birthday, “Ohhh,” she says, as she puts her hand to her forehead, “I’m getting so OLD!” To which I reply, “Well, it’s better than the alternative…”
I will admit that last year’s birthday seemed harder for me. Something about turning 35 (really, what is it about those round number years, anyway?) I do think it’s a good idea to listen to your inner voice if it’s telling you something is wrong. Obviously, I’ve been unhappy with my job and the fact that I’m living on the East Coast instead of in Seattle. So, those two themes were running around in my head and causing a ruckus and I knew I had some work to do.
I’ve consciously made a decision to change my perspective on living here in New England. It happened during one of the major snowstorms this past winter. Terry and I were sitting in our living room. We had a lovely spread of meats and cheeses out, a warm crackling fire, an open bottle of wine, and I had a good book on my kindle. I looked up and took in the room around me. It struck me how warm and cozy our home and life is. How nice it was to hear the howl of the wind outside and know that we were safe and cared for. I realized that we wouldn’t have been able to afford such a nice place out West and that I really should be more thankful for how nice our life is right now.
It was like turning a corner for me. I don’t think I’ve given this area as much of a chance as I should have. Yes, it’s been hard to meet new people and make friends, but even then I don’t see or keep in touch with the few I have as often as I should. I think I’ve been looking in my rear view mirror and back at all my friends and the wonderful life Terry and I had in Seattle for too long. It’s time to start investing in where I am right now and stop keeping one foot in the past.
As far as the job issues go, well, if you’ve been reading my blog, then you already know I have a plan to address that. I’m still battling some of my self-doubt and fears in regards to my decision to quit my job at the end of the year, but I’m also feeling very determined to overcome them, plan accordingly and make this work. No matter what, something has to change. I’m just happy I’m now armed with a plan to do so!
There are two birthday traditions that I like to do to help me get into the proper frame of mind. First, I like to buy myself a brand new outfit, top to bottom. This means, not just the clothes, but the jewelry and accessories to match, right down to a new pair of shoes. How often do you really get to do that? Most of the time, people will buy a new top, or pants, or maybe an outfit of clothes, right? But, how often do you take the time to get an entire look?
The second thing I like to do is to try at least one thing new, that I’ve never done before. It doesn’t have to be anything super huge or fancy, but it does have to be something completely different and new to me. This year, my sister and I and a friend are going to The Paintbar. We’re going to paint a lovely scene of the Boston Swan boats.
I’ve always wanted to paint something on canvas. I don’t know why, but I’ve never gotten around to it. It’s not like it’s an activity that should seem so out of reach for me, however I’ve managed to go 36 years without ever having painted anything with brushes on canvas. So, that’s going to be my one new thing this year.
You may be asking yourself why this is a tradition of mine. It serves as a reminder that there are still new things to discover and explore. No matter what your age, life can still be exciting and new! Don’t fall into a trap of ennui and cynicism. Celebrate your life!
I know that’s what I’m going to do!