We celebrated my 46th birthday last week.
I have a friend who holds up a sign that indicates his age in every birthday photo now. At this point, they all blend together so he figures that’s the only way he will know what year it was. What’s the difference between 46 and 47 and 48?
But I think this birthday will stand out in my memory because it was an unexpectedly delightful day, and I did nothing to make it that way.
It happened to fall on a Sunday this year. (Perhaps it is a sign of my age that I just tried to Google when that will happen again and couldn’t figure it out. I then tried to figure out how to access ChatGPT, again, to no avail. My back-of-the-envelope calculations tell me it will be another five years…)
Peter and I were away for a nine-months-delayed anniversary trip. So I got eight hours of sleep, stayed in bed with my journal and various books and a big cup of tea, then meandered towards a late breakfast and ate eggs benedict. We had a little extra time before heading home, and Peter noticed we were close to Storm King, a 500-acre sculpture park. So we drove over and walked around.
We talked about a recent sermon as we drove and wondered about the 3-legged Buddha sculpture and marveled at the ones that moved with the wind. We ate lunch at Panera and later had a family dinner where I received the one gift I had requested, a bright blue leather tote bag that I never would have purchased for myself.
I don’t need fancy parties. I don’t need big gifts. But it is joyful and lifegiving and memorable to slow down and celebrate. It is worth it to sleep late and eat delicious food and see beautiful (and strange and unexpected) art. And most of all, it is worth it to surround myself with the people I love.
More with Amy Julia:
- Gifts that Emerge Out of Belovedness
- The Gift of the Magi
- S6 E16 | Enchantment in an Anxious Age with Katherine May
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