Wednesday, October 6, 2010

"What I've learned is to celebrate every decade for what it gives, not for what it takes away."- Marge Champion - 91 year old Dancer/Choreographer

Happy Birthday to Me............Humbly! 
My  Personal Goddess...
A custom made gift from a good friend 
on my last Birthday.
A reminder of my resilience and power.
When I decided to post a blog acknowledging my 57 years of life, I briefly questioned whether I was becoming a narcissist. Even writing this blog, sharing my experiences, strength, and hope, gives one pause; is this grandiose?  It’s been a long road, a lifelong struggle for me in determining what is selfish, and what’s self care. A therapist friend laughed out loud when I relayed my concerns about contracting a fatal (to those who love me anyhow) case of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Lack of empathy for others and selfishness are two of the prominent traits for those who are inflicted with the energy sucking disease of me, me, me’ism. Narcissist are deceptive, manipulative, confusing, and exhausting little critters.  Even I had to admit, while I still have a number of glaring character defects, on the attribute side of the ledger,compassion, generosity, and unselfishness are pretty obvious....sometimes to a fault.  I had a wonderful mentor who determined, early on, I leaned a bit towards the codependent; a sacrificial lamb kind of martyr. Ewwwwwwwww..... Character defect #xxxxx!  In the earliest days of my recovery, when I apologized constantly, for even breathing in too much air, she exasperatedly said to me, “For God sake, our Program teaches us how to live and honor our lives.  It does not say we need to bend over and hand the world the Vaseline! You are one of the kindest people I know. Now start being kind to YOU.”  Yikes!  A bit graphic, but she knew sarcasm was an effective mode of shock therapy!  That style of ripping through dysfunctionally reinforced walls of denial, works amazingly well on me. This “in your face” (with love in your eyes of course) approach has frequently changed my direction on a yellow brick road, which occasionally had me aimlessly walking around in circles. Humility IS something my 12 step program suggests and I’ve struggled with the meaning of that as well. I used to think humility meant, I come last, my needs aren't important, go right ahead and minimize me because I do!    I finally came to a happy place with my definition of humility about a year or so ago.    I see humility as acknowledgement without judgement, compassion without self depreciation and wisdom without righteousness.  In a nutshell, which I rarely say anything in.....(humility in action here) I see it as the generous, loving-kind, act of acceptance, of our weaknesses and our STRENGTHS. Only by exposing and knowing these things, are we open to change and enlightenment.  With all that being said, It is perfectly okay to toot my own birthday horn, and not wait for others to bring me flowers! So, I will. I am humbly, and joyfully singing HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME out loud!!!! 
 What a glorious day to celebrate my full life!  A good part of that life has been spent, scampering through a maze, trying to find that one pot of gold at the end of the rainbow that will change everything.  As time has placed wrinkles into my face, my soul has been etched with some wisdom as well.   I try these days to slow down, enjoy the view and stop looking for anything. There are so many treasures along the path, we just need to recognize them when we see them. In my twenties, I couldn’t identify them because I was too preoccupied with how I looked as I sashayed down vanity road.  Later, in my thirties, I was so busy racing down that same road pushing my cart, trying to beat the clock in accumulating stuff, recognition, and other things I thought were gifts of “the great life”.  All it managed to do, was leave me exhausted and cranky, wondering if I was having fun, and, now what?” My forties brought to me a tremendous, unconditional love, and because of it, pleasure, serenity, and confidence blossomed.  Mid-forties, conditions were right for a tiny spark, ignited by downsizing, illness, death, and uncertainty.  I questioned many things. Surely there must be more to me than a Size 2 ass and a nameplate on my office door? That spark burst into a blazing fire of desire in my early 50’s.  I tested myself on many levels.  Could I go back to College?  Could I try on new career paths?  Could I date like a teenager, minus braces and acne? Could I let my heart open to the possibility of love again? Yes, I could. These past few years have left me with a commitment to stoke that fire inside, burning brightly with the passion to continue  “whooping it up into my nineties”! No matter what. Detours like unemployment, lack of funds, loneliness, or broken hearts, will no longer be tolerated as an excuse for not living well.  It's been possible this decade to jump out of airplanes, para-sail the Riviera, ride bareback in the ocean, strut my "50 some year old" naked body into a sauna in Italy, and dance in the streets of Nice at night, with joy, and a Frenchman. And, write a blog.   Just think of the things to be done at 60, 70, 80 and 90! 
As ee cummings writes, “It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.”  It’s only by experimenting, balancing living out loud and quietly venturing within, that we find out, who that is. Every decade’s pleasures, insecurities, beliefs, accomplishments and rejections have brought me closer.  I have outlived my own mom’s age, by 6 years. That in itself, is cause for gratitude.  I’ve conquered many demons that looked pretty intimidating in my younger days.  I am comfortably settling into life, without settling for. I am done constantly trying to retool the perfection that already exists. My vision is predominately 20/20 now and I see so many authentic delights.  I’ve no need for the rose colored glasses.  Life makes me chuckle.  Many things have changed.  My body isn’t as small and firm as it used to be, but it’s healthier than it’s ever been.  My mind isn’t as quick as it once was, but it is undeniably purer and less cluttered with nonsense. My heart doesn’t swoon so dramatically like it once did.  But, it has grown larger. All the wonderful love I have experienced, accumulated, stretching it out, expanding its capacity to hold and give back even more.  
I am patting myself on the back this Birthday, cracking open the non-alcoholic Brut, eating the corner piece of cake with the biggest glob of icing, and composing next year’s dream board while shouting WOOHOO... Hey.... a thought....I ‘ve never been to Monterey California!  Look out little brother, guess who's coming to dinner!
Happy Birthday, you delightful, “young” broad! 
The man who views the world at fifty the same as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life.  ~Muhammad Ali