September 17th is my favorite day of the year because it’s my birthday – the one day a year that’s all about me – my special day. Like many women, I spend a lot of time nurturing others, so taking time to focus on myself is invigorating.
This September 17th is my 58th birthday. Instead of bemoaning that number or the physical changes life has brought, I choose to celebrate what those changes represent – every wrinkle represents smiles, laughter and the sheer joy of life; every worry line represents care and concern for my family or a friend in need. Together, they represent a life full of good things that matter to me.
I’ve received some wonderful gifts. Even though my parents aren’t here to celebrate with me, the sense of optimism and playful approach to life my mother instilled in me shapes everything I do. My father gifted me with self-confidence and a strong drive to achieve. His death at 53 reinforced the need to take care of my physical self, and to appreciate every day I’m given.
All those nights worrying about my children has paid off in three responsible, caring and fun adults. The commitment I made to my husband 36 years ago has brought tremendous joy and enrichment to my life. My hard work with clients has changed many lives through my teaching, consulting and coaching. The gift of wisdom and perspective I’ve gained over the years is priceless – to not take life or myself so seriously, to let go of things that don’t matter, and to enjoy what life has brought me.
In preparing for this birthday over the last several weeks, I’ve thought about what I want to do and with whom I will spend my time. Instead of limiting my celebration to one day, I follow my mother-in-law’s model – I celebrate for a week! This year, I will do something special each day to honor my full life: get a physical to make sure everything’s in working order for the next year; visit the spa for a little “pampering”; have lunches and dinners with friends and family; nourish my spirit with a trip to a Chicago museum and garden; create a plan for new workshops and speaking engagements; and of course, spend some time in my garden!
Here’s to September 17th and whatever 58 may bring!