Reflections on a Birthday


I’m not sure if it’s because my birthday falls so close to New Years, or if my view of my life is that it inherently revolves around me, but I’ve always viewed my birthday as my personal new year: a time of reflection on the past and aspirations for the future.
This “new year” seems distinct, a prominent landmark, as I enter into a new decade. As I look back over the last ten years, it is remarkable the things I have accomplished, lost, and overcome. I know it seems egocentric to focus on my own accomplishments, but I also feel like if we can’t celebrate ourselves, we can’t expect anyone else to think we are great or worthy of anything.

Today I’m wearing a strand of pearls my mother gave me in my early twenties. Through all of my major successes, failures, and losses in adult hood, I wore these. I don’t see them as a good luck charm as I wore them in failures too, but as something that connects me to something larger. I’m not sure what it is exactly; maybe it’s family or some other intangible idea of self, but when I wear them it makes me feel connected to something like my own journey.

In 2010, I wore them in my wedding. In 2011, I wore them in an interview for a job I didn’t get. In 2012, I wore them in my divorce. In 2013, I wore them to my husband’s funeral. In 2014, I wore them in my graduation from graduate school. And today, I wear them as I conclude a decade full of traveling, loving, losing, growing, learning, creating, and many other –ing’s I wont include here.

I can hardly imagine how much change will come with the next decade, but for the New Year, I have a list of goals:

  • Make a new body of work
  • Submit an article to a reputable national publication
  • Submit applications for a solo show
  • Build a garden
  • Build a compost bin
  • Journal regularly

I’m hoping by publishing these thoughts, it will give me the last bit of needed motivation to see them to completion. And, that maybe the next time you see me, you might ask how my work or writing or gardening is going.

Cheers to aspirations and perpetual growth and another year of life.

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