Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me

Today is my birthday and I'm 52. I'll never forget my 50th birthday party at Baily's right after my surgery. So it's easy for me to count how many years of survival that I've had so far.

For me, birthdays have always been days of doing whatever I want to do. This was easy before having children but now that my kids are grown up, I get to focus more on myself again. It's not that every other day of the year is not for focusing on myself but there's something about birthdays that gives me more permission to do whatever I want to do with my day.

"It's your birthday, you get to choose where we go out to eat." "It's your birthday, you get to have cake!" "It's your birthday, did you have a happy one?"

So, on my birthday, I give myself this permission. It's a special day, as if all the others aren't. I get to make all the decisions, as if the rest of the time I don't? I get to eat sugary stuff guilt free, as if the guilt must be present every other day of the year? I get to ask myself, "what do I really want to do right now?" every moment of the day. It needs to be MY day! And if I don't want to do something, I don't!" - as if every moment is supposed to be somehow much more important than any other day.

Since diagnosis, I've been living my life, every day, like each day is my birthday. So this year's birthday is not so different actually, from any other day of my week. Whenever I remember it's my birthday today, I stop and ask myself if I'm really happy doing whatever it is I'm doing at the moment, like I do every other day.

So this birthday, I'm getting to learn about how far I've come since diagnosis with the task of living a life that's stress free and meaningful. Each day is special and every day is about living and loving the life I have and the people who share it with me.

These are the changes I've made to assist me with that task:

1. I've cut my client load down to 4 days a week with no more than 3-4 appointments a day. I've got a calendar online where people can schedule appointments that only shows my openings so it's easier for me to keep to my boundaries.

2. I give myself permission to sit in bed with a cup of tea and a golden retriever in my lap, watching TV whenever I'm tired. And it's ok to be tired. I'm a bit anemic right now and went through a big deal a few years ago and now have a 13 year old daughter while working!

3. I make time to connect with my kids, my husband and friends on a regular basis.

Etc. (I could go on and on but these things are the most important to me)

I have implemented now permissions and priorities in my life so I can keep my stress levels down. This way I can have a birth day 365 days of the year for the rest of the time I have coming to me.