Wednesday, October 17, 2007

31

Today is my 31st birthday. I talked about missing Paris this last week, as I spent my 30th birthday alone in Paris. It was wonderful. I walked around the city all day, visited the Museé d'Orsay and had a wonderful dinner on the Champs Élysées. It's hard to top a birthday like that. This birthday was spent primarily at work but I went over to have dinner with my parents afterwards. My mother always goes out of her way on our birthdays. She bought me these amazing roses that are red, orange, and yellow. She puts so much thought into gifts, dinner, everything. As I sat there after dinner, I was struck with such a strong sense of appreciation. Sure, last year's birthday was wonderful. I was in Paris! But the day I came home from that trip, I discovered that my mom had cancer. It was a rough few months that followed but she has recovered completely and is still cancer-free.

Life offers such beautiful lessons. What could be better than a birthday spent in a city I've dreamt of seeing all my life? A birthday that follows in which my mother is is alive and healthy. It's not an either-or proposition, though. Life is about layers. Layers upon layers. My eyes have seen Paris, my heart has felt heartbreak, I've dusted myself off many times and continued to pursue life fully. The struggles, the victories, the dreams fulfilled and the dreams abandoned or lost...they build upon each other and take on a uniquely beautiful form...me.

This birthday comes with such an easiness. Such acceptance and serenity.

10 comments:

Richard said...

Happy belated birthday!

You realize, that to me, you seem so-o-o-o-o young (and I am only a decade older) and only 3 weeks younger than my brother.

I am glad to hear you had a great time. You mention solitude as one of your interests. While there is nothing wrong with solitude and I think you enjoyed a quiet birthday in Paris, I really don't think you are the solitary type person.

It is also good to hear you have a mom who goes out extra for her kids. Mine did too. Sometimes it is sad to realize that a lot of people don't have moms like that.

"Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present" – Marcus Aurelius

I don't understand why, but after many, many years, I have learned that women really appreciate (or get freaked out by) the presentation of flowers, more so than any other gift item..

j.elliot said...

Happy (belated) Birthday!
Hopefully you are feeling up--but the song this week was posted with your melancholy mood in mind.

j.e.

La Page Française said...

Happy belated birthday B! Hope the next year is filled with many more joys, experiences, victories, and realized dreams.

Cavalock said...

HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY!

Kim/Thomas said...

happy birthday:):):)

i'm so glad you had such a wonderful day, you soo deserve it:) life is good huh:) having the people who love you, celebrate you!

happy birthday to you:) from all of us!

carra said...

OK I know I am a total cow, I have been quite for all this time. But still Happy Birthday (again)! Gros Bisous.

b said...

Richard...thank you. I seem soooo young to you? Haha. You really are not that much older! It's interesting that you mention that about my not being entirely solitary. I've been thinking about that quite a bit lately. While I really value my solitude, I am definitely not an absolute loner. And I have to say that I am touched that you made such an observation. It is intriguing how we can truly learn so much about one another in the blogosphere, isn't it? And yes, I do like flowers. I love beautiful things, especially naturally beautiful.

J.E....thank you. I really do like this week's song and yes, always appreciate the melancholy.

La Page Française...thank you for the birthday wishes!

Cavalock...thank you!

Kim...awww, you're so sweet. Yes, it does feel wonderful having such people to share my birthday with. I'm a luck girl.

Carra...you're too funny. You sent me an e-card on my birthday and that was so appreciated. Thank you!

Richard said...

I think it is a question of perception. When I was 20, someone who was thirty was older, but not excessively so. When I was 30, someone who was 40 was also not excessively older. Now that I am 40, people at 50 look pretty old to me.

I think it has to do with how our bodies change as we age. There is a period in our lives when we are pretty much the same. We mature, but there is no real indication of aging. Then it comes.

I think all people have a fundamental need to belong, so I don't think there is any instinct toward being solitary. I believe that people who choose to be solitary do so because they find dealing with other people overwhelming. Rather than suffering, they simply withdraw and eliminate the source of pain. I think they are lonely, but the pain of human contact is greater than the loneliness.

I need solitude, sometimes lots of it, to rest and recover. But I do not want to be alone.

b said...

Richard...true. Perception is key and mine is very much in line with yours. And yes, I do belive that physical change is a principal gauge for what we consider old.

I also agree that people are not innately solitary. If people were, communities would not exist and this world would be scarcely populated. I think solitariness and solitude are very different though. People who fiercely exert a solitary existence, likely do (as you say) want to "withdraw and eliminate the source of pain," caused by relationships with others.

However, desiring solitude seems to be less complex. For me, it simply comes down to needing time with my thoughts and little/no distraction from others. And yes, as with you, I need to rest and recover, lick my wounds and/or quietly absorb all that I feel and appreciate. Different people desire/require different levels of solitude. But yes, a life without human interaction and relationships is not truly desirable.

Richard said...

Amen.