It’s my birthday this week. There was a lovely fruit tart at work but otherwise, I forgot the occasion entirely, or lost it or something amid all the theatrical productions, weather gyrations and general overcommittedness of the last few months. And to be honest I am so much more excited about it officially being spring, than about me being reminded of being older. I accept the aging process as normal and natural and I am on speaking terms with it—I am just not entirely ecstatic about being reminded of my mortality. It’s been a week of facing the cold hard fact of the long slow slide into the end of a life as my mother in law goes in and out of ICU. I do not think her story is ending, but we are coming to the last chapters and what shall they be? And I look at my hopes and dreams and plans and I mean OF COURSE I am not living my perfect life and following my bliss—I can barely get the laundry done and we need milk and cereal AGAIN. I can’t figure out Twitter or Facebook in its reconfigured state and that’s enough to make me feel like an old dinosaur. I am running out of time to live the life I dreamed of living while I am still physically capable of doing so, but it’s on hold right now because I need to figure out where our living expenses are coming from next month. That’s another reason to overlook a celebration. I can’t afford carry out sushi even! I feel like I have been on hold for years, just solving the crises that keep popping up like dandelions in the green expanse of my wonderful plans. You dig one out and six more pop up. So you pull all your resources together and avert disaster and try to breathe a sigh of relief and the friggin economy falls off a bloody cliff. I haven’t read a novel in months—I seem incapable of writing poetry and the only sketches I ‘ve done are of the garden I can’t afford to plant. Grumble Grumble.
Life is hard. Looking at the human condition, I don’t know where I got the chutzpah or stupidity to think it was going to be some fairy tale for me. Jobs are lost, economies tank, hot water heaters die and need immediate replacement. Look at the damn salmon I try to eat once a week for Omega 3’s. If they aren’t eaten as eggs, or splayed out on a ball of rice for sushi, or salted as lox,(and we aren’t the only species wolfing them down) they get to rip their skins off swimming upstream to keep the species going and they don’t even get to see their babies. And I got lucky enough to be born in the developed world. I don’t suppose raising kids in Darfur is a bundle of laughs this year. Jesus I am glad I am not a mom in Gaza. Or anywhere where there are landmines-- I hate loud noises.
So my gift for myself is gratefulness. Every day for the next month I will write out 3 things I am grateful for. Because when you think about it, the good stuff outweighs the bad. Last night there was a cold Guiness waiting for me at the end of a long St. Patrick’s work day.
So today’s list: I am grateful that I can smell the world again as the earth warms. I am grateful that my kids are healthy TODAY (no fevers yippee and seasonal allergies haven’t hit yet). I am grateful to be alive. Happy Birthday to me.