My birthday is the one day out of the year that I (officially) spoil myself rotten. I do whatever the fuck I want, I see who I want to see, and I let myself play. My Mom instilled this fierce birthday-pride in me from a young age. She never blended in my birthday gifts with my Christmas gifts, she had big parties for me actually on my birthday until I was seven years old, and then after that always had cake and my favorite dish ready for me on the big day. I think it's healthy--especially for overworked, Type A women of color like myself--to take at least one day to spoil ourselves rotten, love ourselves silly, and have a damn good time.
Three years ago, for my big 30 birthday, I was determined to leave my 20's with a bang. Luckily, some friends threw me a surprise party that started December 2001 off right, then on the night of my actual birthday I had a salsa dancin' night out with some good friends, and then threw myself a slammin' house party a couple weeks later. I've recognized that every birthday is different, and that each year, depending on where my spirit is at the time, I celebrate my birthday a little differently. Each year it's all good. This year should be fun: H. has some special plans for me tonite, and later on we'll be going to the Elbo Room to hook up with some folks for live music and (of course!) salsa dancing. And yesterday I had a really sweet time with my Mom in North Beach, where she regaled me with stories from her San Francisco past and treated me to some yummy gnocchi with wild boar bolognese and a lunchtime glass of Chianti.
This time of year is for me--being winter, the time of rest and rejuvenation and visioning--about reflection, evaluation, and setting goals and aspirations for the coming year. I don't call these goals resolutions, per se, although they function in much the same way. My hope is to use this winter-time of rest, relaxation and meditation as a time to figure out what I need to be doing more of in the coming year to become a better person, to live up to my own dreams, to fulfill my destiny. The fact that New Year's Eve is the day after my birthday is significant; my day of birth neatly coincides with that of the turning of the calendar.
So what did I accomplish this year? I think I've become a better listener, especially to my partner. I am still far from perfect, to be sure, but I have grown tremendously in the past year. I have learned to be mindful of my anger and how it affects me and others. Unfortunately, this lesson came after more than a few particularly explosive outbursts that I don't regret, but that were humbling experiences. I learned a new dance (one of my goals from last year), salsa casino rueda, which is popular in Cuban dance clubs. I took a Tagalog class (finally!). I got a poem published, and sent out a bunch more for consideration. I started working at an organization that moves me deeply and treats me with the respect and integrity that I deserve. I have become a better person, at least just a little bit.
But of course there is always room for growth, improvement, a fuller blossoming of who I am.
So what are my goals for 2005? I have about 25 books I want to read, including lots of poetry and spirituality books. I want to build relationships more conscientiously with people in my life who nurture me and help me grow, who are positive and who challenge themselves as well as me, who are doing what they want to be doing in life and not letting their dreams lie stagnant in some forgotten recess of memory. I plan to take up a regular Kali practice again (hear that, Gura>), expand my yoga practice to daily sessions (I'm already close), and make my writing the center of my life.
Big goals? Maybe. Necessary? I believe so. Possible? Definitely.
Blessings for a Peaceful and Prosperous New Year,
Haiti Emergency Relief Fund reading Friday June 30
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