Seasons changing! The 21st of June: first day of summer, longest day of the year, my birthday.
All of that is true if you are in the northern hemisphere. Go south and you get the shortest day of the year and you’re already into the 3rd week of winter in Australia. (They start their seasons on the first of the month rather than by solstice or equinox – I don’t know why.) So, I guess it’s a matter of perspective. Except it’s still the day of my birth. The one day I can make it all about me, even if it should really be all about my mom. I mean, let’s get real, she did all the work back then.
This year, the sun was out in England, which made me happy and seemed fitting especially as we have been having downpour, after rainy day, after downpour recently. I know, I know, it’s an island. But sometimes, you just want the darn sun to shine on the first day of summer. You want the sun to shine on your birthday.
I did have a great meeting with an indie bookstore that is going to stock my book and host a fun book party in September – deets coming soon. I talked with my mom and my dad, reveled in the memories that a Facebook birthday brings as people you haven’t chatted with in years take the time to say hello, talked with a couple friends, and then I had an old-fashioned date. Dinner and a movie with my lovely guy. The next day, I had a lunch at one of my favorite restaurants, Outsider Tart in our old stomping grounds of Chiswick, with two of my very favorite people, and I had a massive slice of triple chocolate cake that I had to take three separate attempts to finish. All in all, relatively low key but also very satisfying.
Last year I was home for my sister’s celebration of life, so most of my family was in town. I can’t remember the last time we were all together for my birthday. I loved it. This year I didn’t mind not having a massive night out or big barbeque or a party. I just wanted to be with the people I could be with and have a moment to be grateful.
Sometimes being grateful is hard. May was filled with stress and illness, and June started with some life-altering news about a dear friend’s health. The kind of news that stops you in your tracks, makes you forget to breathe, and hurts your heart as you ache for them and their family. Add to that the general worry about your loved ones who are far away, common day-to-day stressors, a nice dose or two of physical pain, and it seems like the only things you can see are the bad ones. You have to take a step back, take a deep breath, and try to look past them to the bigger picture – find that gratitude. It’s easier with a nice view, I have to admit.
I found this park. Well, I was taken to this park with some old work friends who planned a nice country walk here and invited me along. This was day before my birthday and no one knew so it wasn’t about that. It was just so good to move my body and be outside in the woods, feel my blood pump through my veins, work my still-recovering lungs, and see livestock in the fields. Even the (several) hills that were a bit difficult didn’t mar the day. Following it up with a half pint in the pub wasn’t bad either.
Oh, and the deluge of rain has caused the garden to go freaking mad, especially the roses. The climbing rose has shot right over the fence into my neighbor’s garden (she doesn’t care) and the weight of it and the other overachiever near it are beginning to warp the fence. We’ll eventually have to sort that out, but in the meantime, I just look at the roses in awe and think about Sleeping Beauty. I’d like to say that I take a moment to smell the flowers, but unfortunately, they don’t have a scent. They do look amazing though.
A good start to this new year of mine. I’m going to keep moving, keeping finding the gratitude, love my people, and finish my works in progress – not bad birthday resolutions, yeah?