Photo: Another pin to put on my yarn bag–the shield of the Episcopal Church. I’m really proud of it. One of my favorite people gave it to me. I’m also really proud of it because, well… who knew I’d be so entrenched in a church? 20 year-old me doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry.
As much as I joke that September is my “birthday month” and is a month-long exuberant celebration of my awesomeness, longtime Dear Readers know that melancholy settles in around my birthday. Next Friday signifies 3 years since I last talked to my grandmother. As we get farther away from her passing, the daily and even weekly sting fades to a manageable numbness. This yearly revisiting, however, still matters and I dread it.
The first year out, I chose to spend my birthday completely alone. I drove myself to the beach with a book and sat there staring at the waves. This was a very, very bad idea. The full sunshine of the gorgeous day was absolutely nothing compared to the internal darkness I packed with me. It’s by grace that I was able to pull myself out of it.
Last year, I busied myself with a playdate at the Discovery Museum with one of my friends and her precious little girl. Chasing a toddler is a perfect way to banish dark thoughts. It was an effective strategy, but also exhausting and fleeting because toddlers are like that. When the playdate was over, I was alone again. The darkness wasn’t near as deep, but it was there. But I learned my lesson: don’t go it alone. Choose to be with people you love.
That’s why this year, I’m heading out. Two dear friends are taking me. The offer came over text message earlier this week. The introvert in me, which is so loving introverting right now, begged me to type no. But the thing is, I know that I don’t want to be alone. And the boys and The Husband will be off on their own adventures. Staying home with that bottle of wine would actually not be a good thing.
“I have to warn you: I don’t know what kind of human I’m going to be on Friday,” I told my friend. “But I know I don’t want to be alone, so I’m deeply grateful.”
As good friends are, she totally understands.
My Quiet Thoughts this Friday evening are about choosing wisely. Choosing to say yes when it would be so much easier to say no. Choosing to get dressed and step out when the comfy pants and the wine would be gloriously wonderful. Choosing to know yourself well enough that you do the right thing for yourself. Choosing to try new things to evade the harmful thing that you see coming. Wisely is just as important as choose here. Because what’s wise for me is to meekly say yes and keep my appointment no matter what. Wise for you may be very different. The answer is varied because people are varied. I’m writing this because I sincerely believe in the power of agency and honor that we each have it. Couple that with the power of a reasoning mind and I know that just about anything can happen. Even just laughter with friends. I know Grandy wants me to enjoy my birthdays.
The last few mornings have seen temperatures in the 30s here. 39, yes, but there is a 3 in front of that number, and that matters! Even so, we haven’t turned on the heat in the house. Instead, we’ve snuggled under extra blankets and relished the invigorating briskness. The Husband, especially, is enjoying the seasonal change. I admit that the sleeping is nice, so I’m not complaining. Per the fickleness of a transition period, the weekend promises highs in the 80s. I suppose it’s the season for the greedy: love the cold, love the heat, love the harvest, love the fashion, love the colors, love it all. I confess I really, really do. I’m a glutton in purest form.
The best part of this time of year is the Moon being in fun, unexpected spots in the sky. Have you seen it lately? If not, that’s my first wish for you. Go find the moon and make a little note to yourself of the where, the how, the when. And how did you feel when you spotted it in the sky? And what did the person you were spending time with think of it? T’was Minor to spotted it for us this week on the clear Thursday morning. He said, “LOOK! It’s the MOON! And it’s DAYTIME!” and Major ooooed and ahhhhed. And I did the same and we all had a moment of enjoying something simply for the beauty of it. That’s my second wish for you, Dear Reader. To be in the presence of something beautiful and to enjoy it simply because it is. I wish you time to simply stop and stare. I wish you extra time to be greedy about something: a favorite food, another mug of coffee, a few more chapters of your book, a little time by the fire, one last tomato from the garden…. indulge, enjoy, share if you want to. You’ll have to again in plenty of time. Ok fine, actually, that’s my final wish for you this weekend: look out and up and see someone this weekend. See them and extend something to them: a compliment, an invitation, a plate of food, a prayer, a hand, an open door… kindness does wonders. Kindness, Dear Reader, does wonders.
That’s what I get to take with me next week to keep the melancholy way: deep gratitude for the kindness of friends. Joys and blessings abound, Dear Reader.
You are a joy and blessing to someone, too, Dear Reader. You are loved. What you do matters in this world. When you wisely choose to be yourself and do right by others, you bring a little hope to the world and you empower others to be their best selves, too. Continue to set that good example because life is short and precious. I promise, you’re more powerful and wonderful than you’ll ever fully know.
Until Monday, Dear Reader, take care.