It’s still my birthday as I write this missive. True confession: I love my birthday. I have always loved my birthday. As the third of four girls I was thrilled to grab the limelight for an instant of “Felice birthday time.” Sick of the hand me down clothes from my sister just 13 months older, I was ecstatic to have my own gifts to tear into.
What’s amazing to me over the years is that this excitement has not let up. As a BA50, there is something that has changed in my celebrating. While I no longer can recall the gifts I ’ve been given from year to year, I always remember the experiences. So, when I turned 50, I invited a group of girlfriends and my sisters for a weekend in the country where my most vivid memory was hiking up a mountain. I remember sitting at the summit perched on rocks eating peanut butter sandwiches, looking out over the beautiful Berkshire landscape and talking the afternoon away. I loved every minute of it and still smile just thinking about it..
Last year, I decided to run a 15K in Central Park as it fell on my birthday. I put the word out to my running buddies and we all signed on. It was a highlight, a run in the freezing December air followed by a cozy breakfast in a New York City café. I liked it so much I did it again this year and it was just as memorable.
As the years have gone by I try to plan time with my husband, my boys, sisters and friends in a conscious way — something I can remember —- an experience we can all share that’s more than just a meal in a nice restaurant unwrapping store-bought gifts.
Last January my sister Jane and I stayed at a B&B in Montreal for two nights. It was snowy and cold and we hung in our bedroom talking for hours and later hiked up Mount Royal. I recall the cross country skiers and sledders that surrounded us, and the sound of our feet crunching in the snow as we walked and talked the day away. It was blissful.
Now, as I write, I ‘m on a plane with my youngest son for a five- day trip. We have never traveled alone before and decided to set aside this time to go to the mountains and ski. This was the first time neither my other son nor my husband couldn’t get away as they both had work. My youngest is 23, in the music business and on tour constantly. We will have six days together and I smile as I sit and write on the plane while he works on his writing in the next seat. I know I have captured yet another magic moment – an experience that will be with me forever.
It always seems impossible to carve out special time in our hectic lives – but we can do it. We just need to commit to our missive and stick to it. No need to take a plane ride to find the magic. It can be right in your kitchen baking cookies with an old friend, hanging out in your backyard with a glass of cold Chardonnay, or taking time out for a yoga lesson together. Trust me: Now that I’m a wiser over 50 year old, I know how important it is to set aside time for those you love. After all, it’s a gift everyone shares equally in, making it the best present of all.