Sunday, February 26, 2006

Birthday Presence

Today I'm 46. It's been a year of looking for love. Last year, I went through my usual panic...mid-40's and no husband. All year I have been searching. My moody pessimistic self would look at the past year as a failure. I didn't fall in love. I didn't have much romance. I had a lot of disappointments. I spent a lot of time pining over someone that didn't love me. I saw more wrinkles and gray hairs.

But then I remember all I did find as I was out looking for love. I made more friends last year than I probably have made in the previous 20 years and I have learned from all of them. I've read more self-help books, been on more dates, had more self-introspection, lived more life, had more freedom to be myself, than ever before. It's been a year of growth and love. I have to stop thinking of "love" as only something you get from a romantic partner, and remember it's more about what you give than what you receive. Because with each loving thing I do, I feel the happiness that comes from love, regardless of what I'm getting from other people.

Last week FB's mother died suddenly. When I heard the news my heart broke for him. His father died just a few years ago and he had still been grieving from that loss. He doesn't have many people in his life and he was very close to his mother. We went to dinner on Friday and I listened as he described the pain of watching his mother die. Death is a wakeup call for the living. Life is short. Don't waste it worrying about trivial annoyances. Don't waste it having expectations and being disappointed when things don't turn out exactly as planned. Don't waste it looking for love instead of giving love.

I had been, as usual, a little sad that my birthday would most likely come and go relatively unnoticed. People are busy. I'm not a little kid. There aren't too many presents and I'll be making my own cake. Another year older on which will exclude me from searches. One more year closer to that dreaded day when I think I will no longer be desirable at all.

And then I heard about FB and his mother's death. I had my own wake up call without having to suffer through my own mother's death. It's time to stop wasting energy on negative thoughts. It's not birthday presents that are important, it's my own birthday presence. Today I am going to give my full presence and love to those people in my life with no expectations about what they are or aren't giving me. And I will undoubtedly feel more fulfilled than ever. Year 45 was spent looking for love. Year 46 will be about giving it.

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