Michael in his convertible, one of the things that's "better" about this year
My wonderful husband, Michael, turns 40 today. (Happy Birthday, my love!!) And it has me thinking about my own relationship to births and celebrating new chapters.
I'm inspired by Michael's orientation to this milestone. "I'm not getting older, I'm just getting better," he says of himself. Of his life: "It just keeps getting better and better." I love that — seeing our age and our lives as expansion, not as decline. Staying focused on the growing, instead of the dying.
My daughter started first grade last week. And while there is the joy and fun of the new beginning, she is also experiencing some sadness over leaving kindergarten behind. One evening we were having our pre-bedtime talk and she shared that she wanted to be a baby again.
"It's okay to want to be a baby —and to be excited about kindergarten," I said. "New things can often mean some sadness about letting go of the old things."
I know that for me to birth something new — like my newly expanding offerings for the Inspired Writer — I often experience both excitement and fear over trying something uncharted. (And sometimes some sadness over the end of one chapter in order to step into new one.)
What helps me to leap forward in faith is that I'm for my expansion and growth. And I'm learning to make friends with the fear that comes up for me — and trust I can walk through it to birth something new.
I see this kind of committed moving forward in others — and in myself — as profoundly brave, and also so worthy of celebrating.
For many years, I celebrated my birthday more privately. But the past two years, I have celebrated with a wider circle of women who inspire me and hold me. Part of it is that I love parties, entertaining and gathering people together. But even more I love to mark the birth-beginning of another year of growing and learning. I gather with these women to witness for me — and for me to witness for them — how we are growing and getting better (more our true selves, more honoring of our gifts) with each passing year.
For me, I see these markings of rituals and celebrations of our milestones as vitally important, both for seeing how far we've come — and for seeing where we want to go in the future.
In reflecting today, I can see that there's room for me to expand my concept of celebrating beyond my actual birthday or the New Year.
My opportunity is to see all the births that are happening daily, if I can be present to notice them.
So tonight, we will celebrate my husband's birthday — and all that he's birthed this year (new business, new fun car, new salsa dance moves, new ideas about what's possible for him and our family). This weekend, we'll celebrate with family and friends at a barbecue.
And for me today I will take a moment to celebrate what I'm birthing in my life right now. A new focus for my business. A new website. This blog. New muscles around moving past my fear. New ways of standing in the power and uniqueness of my voice.
Here, here, I say. And wishes for many, many more, too.