Last Thursday the 24th was my birthday, I turned an age in the lower 30’s. I was overwhelmed with love and support from all over the place, but it was bittersweet. Mine was the first birthday in the family without my dad and his absence was more pronounced than ever.
I coincidentally scheduled therapy for first thing that morning, which was crucial for getting myself into a better headspace for the day; without that appointment, the day could have gone much differently. From there, I grabbed some lunch and headed to class – Fundamentals of Design 1, which gave me the chance to get feedback on a foam core sculpture we just started for our next project. I’m excited about what I might be able to execute as I feel quite comfortable working with geometric shapes and x-acto knives, I’m just trading the paper for foam core (granted, that’s a big change, but I’m up for the challenge). I also learned I got an A on my hand drawing, which I know would have thrilled my dad. I’m absolutely floored given that this is absolutely not my forte and I tend to be quite critical of myself and my gaps in my abilities.
Following class, I puttered around like I do before a friend came over to watch the Grey’s Anatomy premiere (a wonderful birthday present I get every couple years when my birthday falls on a Thursday). I don’t endlessly watch mindless television – in fact, I avoid cable as much as possible – but I have a handful of programs of which I am die hard fan. I look forward to escaping my reality for a bit to get engaged in an awesome storyline – it’s similar to reading a few chapters of a book before bed for me. On Thursday, we lost ourselves in reconnecting with the folks from GSMH and it was delightful, complete with Chinese food and an ice cream cake.
All in all, it was a good birthday and I did hear from plenty of people (though not from a few I would have liked and I don’t just mean my dad). And as I’ve come to realize as an adult, birthdays don’t have to be just a single day. On Friday, my mom and I spent almost 2 hours at the Crime and Punishment Museum in DC. My dad and I had been meaning to go for months and months, though his health would have prevented him from being able to do it (now having gone and seen the layout and structure of the exhibits), but it’s closing on September 30th so we needed to get down there. I’ll write another post on that visit, but suffice it to say, I was pleasantly surprised.
As we made our way back from DC, I got a text from my friend confirming that the tickets to a Brandi Carlile concert on the 7th that I am dying to go to would be in the mail to me the next day. I was blown away and started tearing up on the Metro platform. Seeing her perform live is another activity I wanted to share with my dad, we both love(d) her music so much. We missed her at Wolf Trap the last two years so when I saw this concert, it was a must. But the convenience fee to buy tickets online was almost as much as a third ticket so I put out a call on Facebook to friends in that area and she came to my rescue. I was expecting to hear from her Monday or Tuesday about it, but she managed to take care of it on Friday. I cannot wait to see this dream realized.
When it comes to birthdays, I try to think of it as a day (or number of days as the case may be) in which the sole purpose is self-care: doing things to make yourself happy and surrounding yourself with people who reinforce the positive things you feel about yourself. I’m hoping that in addition to the concert, I’ll made self-care activities a focus of October.