A few days ago, I turned 36. There were balloons and cake and lovely gifts the night before. My daughters love any reason to party (and eat cake!) so we all had a lot of fun.
But I'm not going to sugar coat it, or tie it up in a neat little package, it was a weird day.
Plans for a simple outing with the kids fell through and I ended up feeling incredibly....angry.
Like "storming-around-the-house-throwing-toys-and-yelling" kind of angry. This happens to people sometimes, and maybe you've been there. Out of your sensible mind, giving into powerful emotions instead of trying to process them in a healthy way. Such a strange -and secretive- part of human behavior.
I'm sharing this with you because there are incredible gifts hidden in those shameful, sad, embarrasing parts of our lives. The real gift of my thirty-sixth birthday was that I saw myself there, in the middle of an ordinary day, totally losing it. I saw myself tired, and cooped up, and lonely and frustrated. I saw myself on the other side of a move to a new state, renting my house, creating a new home, traveling for the holidays and staring at a new year in a new place.
And the only thing I allowed myself to feel was compassion.
Not shame. Not disappointment. Not regret.
This was my birthday gift.
My silly actions, my soul fever, was the only way I could get myself to pay attention. I was ignoring every other sign of discomfort- tired body, dark circles, even physical pain- and it was time to wake up!
We are settled into Connecticut, and it is definitely time for some exquisite self-care, for the things that make me happy and truly feed my soul - a walk outside each day, a weekly yoga class, time to write in my journal, a massage, a new haircut, a relaxing bedtime ritual. It is time to turn some of the attention onto myself, to care for myself a little more.
And, I'm caring for you a little more today, too. The next time that you find yourself feeling tense or tight or frustrated or downright angry, remember my birthday gift. Let go of all the judgment. Wrap your arms around yourself like you would your children. I see you. I know that you are doing the very best that you can.