Moreso than New Year's, birthdays indicate a very real flipping of pages in the book of life. When my annual anniversary comes knocking, I spend much time reflecting upon the past and future.
I recently read a short story in a magazine - I don't recall which one - in which the author talked about her experience in a restaurant. She was dining on the patio with her husband on a lovely summer evening and while reviewing the menu, her inner dialogue made comments about individual prices, the overall cost of the menu, the traffic going home, etc. She ordered the least expensive dish on the menu, and decided to forgo a beverage. Her husband ordered oysters to start, a delightful entree, and a glass of wine. She cocked an eyebrow at him, but he just shrugged, smiled,and returned to admiring the view.
As she listened to him order, she began to wonder why he was able to more fully enjoy the experience while she worried about it. They had plenty of money for the meal, and plenty of time to linger that evening. They were not out of place among the other diners, and had enjoyed a lovely afternoon together.
She realized that she was looking at the experience in a "half empty" kind of way. She spent so much time worrying about things that did not merit worry, that she couldn't just relax and enjoy the moment. The story ended with her changing her order to what she really wanted, and sharing her husband's oysters.
While reading the story, I realized that I am exactly that: a "glass half empty" kind of girl.
I worry about how much it costs, how it's going to happen, and who is going to be there. I worry about the time, the place, and the dress code. I worry about that which I can control, that which I cannot, and every scenario in between.
And when I thought about it some more, I decided that this is a very ungrateful attitude for someone who considers herself to be a grateful person. I get so caught up in the minute details of the big picture, that I forget to appreciate the every day. The ordinary is what makes life worth living.
Snuggling with my kids at night while reading bedtime stories.
2 cars with no major repair needs.
Waking up in the morning with no aches, pains, or creaking joints.
Preparing a delicious, healthy meal in a spacious kitchen, served on dishes I love.
A family who cares about me and would do anything they could to help me.
One of my birthday resolutions is to enjoy each day more fully. There is much in life we cannot control, but why not appreciate that which surrounds you & brings you joy?
PS - You bet we're going out to eat on my birthday. And I WILL order the chocolate cake. ;)