Yesterday was my birthday. Birthdays are their own contradictions—reminders of time and encouragement to be playfully timeless. They can be reflective, peaceful, chaotic, hopeful or all of the above. For me, this weekend was a period of metamorphosis.

Now, let’s pause for clarity. Metamorphosis in its literal form can mean a transition from immature to mature. Uh, not the meaning I’m getting at (I refuse to claim maturity, as my inner goofball usually prevails) . . . I prefer “a change of the form or nature of a thing or person.” So, in this coaxed transformation, what did I find?

  1. Having friends in a time zone 14+ hours ahead will trigger a premature birthday onslaught among friends in this time zone. Chuckle.
  2. I am loved. I say this not as a gloating mechanism but a humble realization of how blessed I am by the people in my life. My mom brought me to tears with, “Happy Birthday!! Hope you have a great day . . . You are the first ‘spark’ that keeps me going. . . . Light of my life.” My heart melted.
  3. Activity, not necessarily age, causes exhaustion. Therefore, birthday naps are totally permissible.
  4. Sometimes the wishes and wants we most desire are elusive because we pursue them so fiercely. Letting go to the natural energy of the universe can be liberating and rewarding.
  5. No one can dictate what “happy” means on your birthday (or any other day) but you.
  6. I no longer view numbers as a reflection of a person’s state of being or well-being.
  7. Intimate connections, where you can focus on the individual before you, are far richer than a melee of faces (at least to me).
  8. Missing someone, like my dear dad, never gets easier . . . it just gets more familiar.
  9. Giving to others on your special day is the best gift possible.
  10. Forgetting to take photos during a celebration means you were actually present. The memories are far more vivid too.
  11. Facebook has replaced birthday cards with a large segment of the population. Not the end of the world, but I openly admit that I am more lax about committing dates to memory.
  12. Hearing the happy birthday song in multiple languages cracks me up. Multiple silly voices add giggling to the power of 10.
  13. I’m aiming for 19 items on this list because it’s my lucky number. How am I doing?
  14. I want everyone in the world to feel valued, recognized and cherished.
  15. Resisting social convention for your age bracket means truly not buying into the “you should have, be or achieve this” by now, including the dreaded “settling down.”
  16. A smile and a youthful spirit will get you carded. Woot.
  17. You don’t have to drink excessively to have an amazing time. And you may actually remember the finite details. Shocker.
  18. Birthday hugs are awesome.
  19. I’m thankful for my experiences and the woman I am today because of them.

Where did the metamorphosis come in? Well, I gave myself leave to let go of obligation, embrace the subtle sensations of each moment and not focus beyond that minute. There, in that presence, I unwrapped a surprising gift . . . a greater sense of contentment with life and myself.

Birthday Candle



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