Today is the beginning of my last year in my thirties.
WOOHOO!!! I LOVE IT!
I remember the beginning of my last year in my twenties: I couldn’t wait to turn 30. I felt like I had been 30 all my life and my insides were finally going to fit my outsides. I kind of feel that way now: I am ready to move from my thirties into my forties. I’ll enjoy this last year, though – every last drop of 30-somethingness!
I’ve failed a lot these past 38 years. I’ve loved so much and lost. But always, always, I know I am one lucky girl and am thankful for it all. Every lovely, exquisite, painful, difficult, triumphant, exciting, sweet last bit of it. It’s mine, all mine, and I accept responsibility for every part.
$39 for a Dream
On my birthday, I give one dollar for every year of this gift of life, to gift to others. This year, I chose to support a fellow dreamer who is working his tail off to make his dream become a reality. Jeffrey Weissler just opened up Pairings Portland Wine Shop in NE Portland. He’s a guy who is passionate about his dreams and is not afraid to share his journey — the good, the bad, the difficult, the cost — and to ask for help (as ALL entrepreneurs should!) all while maintaining a positive attitude and infectious zest for life. If you like wine (hello? who doesn’t?), if you believe like I do that it is the power and passion of small businesses that fuels this world of ours, then please support Jeffrey’s dream. Give $5, $10, $25, or give $39 as I did — that would totally make my birthday if you did. It is the collective efforts of many that make dreams become reality.
With that, here are my birthday wishes, one for each candle on the cake!
1. Peace within. I wish that each person I meet finds peace within themselves, giving them the freedom and confidence to be nothing less than their true self and a life that is nothing less than their own.
2. Love. I wish each person on earth to know deep, mad, crazy love at least once in their life. Even if you lose that love, to experience it once is worth it. It also means you will love again.
3. Laughter. No day should ever go by -ever!- without lots and lots of laughter. Spit-flying, snort-inducing, belly-aching, cheeks-hurting, ROFL type of laughter.
4. Good friends. Mine have saved my life. I hope you find friends who love you exactly as you are and help you feel loved.
5. Solitude. I don’t think I learned how to be truly at peace and happy in my life until I learned how to be alone…and how to love it. I hope you learn to love solitude and embrace its lessons.
6. Strength in my children. I hope my children grow up with a strong sense of self, and the strength to push through the hard times, to know they won’t last, to persevere.
7. Spontaneous adventures. Life is a series of the unexpected. If you let go and embrace the last-minute, you might find yourself learning new skills, exploring new favorite places, gaining new loves and new friends.
8. Happy children. What do I want my children to be when they grow up? Happy. That’s it. Truly happy and free.
9. Appreciation. Look around you. You ARE lucky. Don’t look at what you don’t have: it doesn’t matter in your life. Look at what you DO have. Be thankful. You have a lot. You really do.
10. A little everyday kindness & understanding. Be kind, for every person you meet is fighting their own battles.
11. Smiles. You never know the pain that may lie beneath someone’s smile. So give them yours. Give your smile freely – the unedited, goofiest, warmest smile you can manage. It may not feel like you are giving much, but sometimes the greatest gifts come in the simplest packages. Smile.
12. Faith that things will work out. I believe because there is no other alternative.
13. Bacon. This rumored bacon shortage is bumming me out but I have faith there will be bacon for all, for eternity. Long live bacon.
14. Freedom. I wish everyone the freedom to be who they are, to love who they love, to believe in what they believe.
15.Vacation. A little selfish wish for a relaxing family vacation for my little family, but also a wish for all who work hard out there to be able to take breaks and reward themselves. Vacations don’t have to cost a lot to count.
16. Stop it already with the “you have to unplug” movement. Just stop it. Generations before us were all bent out of shape about the car replacing horse & buggy, but we all got over that and moved on just fine. This is the world in which we live and you telling me to unplug is only going to result in me telling you to get with the times, hand me back my phone, and let me be.
17. Death to award shows. Not because I don’t believe people deserve awards — they most certainly do– but because there is nothing more telling of society than the unending social media updates berating total strangers to make people feel better about themselves and their lot in life. Disturbing.
18. Truth. Speak the truth with kindness and you will never have to worry in conversations. The truth can be ugly, it can be painful, but it is also beautiful and freeing and makes life so much simpler.
19. Work that you love. I am lucky to know what I love, but it is not by luck that I got here. I worked my ass off to get here, and I still work my ass off every day and every night. Because I LOVE what I do. My wish is that you find one thing -or two things, ten things – but at least ONE thing that makes you come ALIVE — and you find a way to love what you do and do what you love.
20. Unstructured play time. I believe in the power of unstructured play time for my children, but I also believe it’s important for us adults to have unscheduled play time too.
21. Travel. I wish for everyone to see as much of the world as possible. I want my children to go places they dream about but also to places they would never dream of going.
22. Magic in the everyday. Do you see it? I hope you do. Trust me: it’s there. Seek it and you’ll find it. Only those who believe the magic exists will be able to see it, touch it, embrace it, make use of it.
23. Sarcasm. Not just the ability to dish it out, but the ability to appreciate, understand it, forgive it, embrace it.
24. Forgiveness. I know I have asked for it, and I have given it; neither is an easy task. Yet forgiveness makes us whole. Without it, we are forever torn and incomplete.
25. A vineyard. Most people know, but my life dream is to someday buy my husband (my family, really) a vineyard. I can picture him being so happy in that role, and someday that will be my gift to him.
26. Care for our Earth. It’s the only one we have. It gives us life, let’s stop squeezing the life out of it.
27. Art forever. This world is beautiful, and artists make it more so. I am grateful to those who share their talents and allow us to see the world through their eyes. May you never stop doing your art, whatever it may be.
28. Equal pay for equal work. Makes sense, so why isn’t this a reality yet? In my lifetime, this WILL happen. Let’s keep working on it, folks.
29. Calorie-free wine. Someone please get crackin’ on that.
30. Creativity and time. I am running out of the latter, hence my wishes are getting shorter. Time to step up the first item, then, right?
31. Forgiveness of self. We are who we are, we do what we do, and we’re not always the best human beings we can be. That’s ok. Forgive yourself and let go.
32. The ability to be silly anywhere, anytime. Who cares who is watching? Make a stupid face, talk in silly voices, wave your arms around like mad woman, and make other people smile. Make them laugh until their cheeks hurt. Life is too short to be too serious.
33. If you love someone, just tell them already. Go do it now! Tell them, and then tell them tomorrow, and then tell them again and again. You can never hear “I love you” too many times, and you can never say it too many times.
34. Someone to call you on your shit. Everyone needs at least one person in their life who will do this. Support is fantastic, but a reality check now & then from someone who loves you is priceless.
35. Sunshine. I hope that when it shines you heartily bask in its glory, and that you also learn how to make your own on the days you need it and there’s nothing but rain.
36. Perspective. It changes everything. I wish that everyone would bring some perspective into every situation.
37. Respect. Everyone needs and deserves respect in life. I wish we all learn to respect those different from us, who share different values and beliefs and loves, who come from or live in different places, and even those who may not respect us. They say you give what you get in life, but with respect, someone has to be the first to give: go be that someone.
38. Music. In your life, I hope you find music that moves you, that speaks to your soul, that feeds you. Music and art: they are like the carriers of the blood in our veins, they keep us moving.
39. To live well. My final wish is the simplest one, but I think sometimes the hardest. I wish that you all live a life worthy of YOU. I know it’s hard with the constant noise of society, the buzz of what your friends are doing, the screams from your inner “shoulda woulda coulda,” but the ability to live your life and live it as only you can exists. It sits in a place safe inside your heart and if you tap into it, it feeds into your brain, which sends messages to your body to make that life happen. Make it happen just for you, in ways that only you can.
I am ever so grateful all of my waking moments for this gift of life. I am blessed to share it with people like you. I hope that these wishes come true for you and yours.