Week 10: Spoiled with love

If you’ve been reading every week, you know I had a birthday last week. And you’re probably sick of my talking about it. So I’ll promise right now that this will be the last time.

But here’s the thing: My birthday isn’t about me anymore. Not to me, anyway.

My birthday isn’t about opening presents or eating cake. Don’t get me wrong: I still love those. But once you’re passed the age of about 8, wrapping paper has lost its thrill and cake comes with a calorie conscience.

My birthday is about relationships. It’s a time to hear from people and spend time with them. I love birthdays more than most people — mine as well as others’ — because I love celebrating, and I especially love celebrating the people I love. Every time I bake a cake or mail a card for a friend, I’m relishing the chance to remind someone of his or her importance to me.

Seemingly more than in the past, this year I experienced a week of outpouring from those I love. I got a day of drinking wine with girlfriends, I got a night out with new friends in California, I had a family birthday dinner, I received phone calls from 3,000 miles away, I opened meaningful cards sent in the mail, I’ve been receiving presents since January, I was stocked up on wine bottles, and I got the 21st century birthday staple: a deluge of texts and Facebook posts. Maybe this all happens every year, but it just seemed like more this year. For a week straight, I felt incredibly connected and loved.

And I felt gratitude — so much gratitude that these individuals are in my life.

One of my friends once joked that I am a collector of people. I loved that. I have friends and family all over the country, relationships forged at different times in a variety of contexts, to the extent that I have a crazy map of people in seemingly every major city. I do my best to keep up with all of them and be a good friend and sister and daughter and granddaughter and cousin, no matter the distance. Last week was an affirmation that I might be succeeding.

Add to that, so many new friends of mine came to a bar of my choosing on Friday to celebrate my birthday. Many of them I have known for only a few months, yet there they were, just because I said so. That was an incredible validation of the people I have met and the life I have started here in L.A. But my prevailing sentiment wasn’t, “Oh, these people like me!” (though there was that). It was, “How did I get so lucky?”

That’s how I felt over and over again last week. Because these days, more than anything else, my birthday is an annual reminder of all the amazing people in my life. People who make me happy and make me feel loved every day. People who overwhelmed me with those emotions last week.

So consider this my birthday thank you note. This is a thank you to all my family and friends — near and far, old and new — who made me feel special and spoiled me with birthday love and showed me yet again how incredibly fortunate I am. I promise I won’t forget it for a single day of my 26th year.

Endnotes:

Currently reading: Look Again by Lisa Scottoline (don’t read it — it’s terrible)

Currently watching: FRIENDS, season 6 (third time?)

Song of the week: Rihanna’s “FourFiveSeconds”

Plans for the week: None as of now. I’m sure beaching and brunching will develop for the weekend.

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