How blessed I am. Today it's my birthday. I've lived 55 years on this beautiful planet and I am so grateful for that. Friends have had babies who have lived only short hours. Others have borne them too soon so that they didn't get the chance to breathe fresh air and play in the sand. One friend passed away when she was in her 30s from lung cancer. Another at the age I am now, from lupus. Death can come at any hour. But a birthday is about celebrating the day life began and the years that have ensued...and of course the years that lay dormant in the future waiting to be opened day by day, minute by minute, like a perpetual gift...what joy!
I don't want to look at achievements on this day, or to think about the future too much. What I would like to do is to appreciate fully how blessed, how lucky I am to have this day. Last evening I shared my home with sixteen beautiful women. There was so much noise! Once a few had arrived the swell of chatter rose and grew until it filled every space; it was such a joyful sound. There were old friends who rejoiced in being together over a glass of wine. There were new friendships made - isn't that a beautiful thing when you get a bunch of friends together - some of them get to start new friendships. I love that!
We had a 'Secret Santa' giving time. I don't need a lot of stuff, so I thought why not have a Christmas in July theme and have a gift swap. Well, it was such fun. Many of the ladies hadn't done that before and there was much hilarity as we negotiated rules for how the game should be played. We had a limit of $10 value for gifts and some people had been so creative. We put all the names in a hat and drew them out one by one and the fun began. The best part is the 'stealing'. When your name is pulled out you can 'steal' a gift that has already been opened or go and choose a new one from the wrapped ones. I am pleased to say that I have some very polite friends who were simply not able to take a gift from someone else, and a few that just wanted the mug or the chocolate enough to go for it! There was playful pouting and sulking and really, it was bucket loads of fun and it just might have to be done again sometime. I have a feeling that some of those lovely manners might be missing next time, now that they've all got the hang of it!
Friendships are the stuff of life. When I was young, before I really knew myself, before I grew up, before I 'became myself', I didn't think I had many friends. I usually had one friend and sometimes two. I hadn't figured it all out then. Now I have. All you have to do is love people. Everyone. Some of them will love you back. If you love enough people you'll always have friends. It's not about being a certain way or looking right or wearing the right stuff. It's about making space in your home and your heart for people. It's about saying 'come'. It's about saying 'stay a while'. It's about saying 'have a cuppa with me'. It's not about saying 'do you like me?' It's about saying 'I like you.' My friends are many and varied and I love each of them for their own special selves. Every one of them adds something precious to my life.
As I get older I get more and more comfortable with spending time alone. It's precious to be happy with my own thoughts. To sit and read or potter in the garden (which doesn't happen as much as it probably should...the garden part). It's also precious to be hugged, embraced and loved by my friends. Today is my birthday and it's a very good day. Thank you. Love to you all xox