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A birthday reflection

single chocolate cupcake with a green candle in it. On a table and on a red mat.

I am 49 (well nearly – in a matter of hours) and I’d like to offer a short celebration and birthday reflection on being (you being you and me being me). I’ll avoid motivational treacle like:

    • Surround yourself by people who lift you
    • Celebrate the positive
    • Be more
    • Love yourself
    • Shine!

I am neither immune to nor unfamiliar with this type of talk. After all, #YesICan is not only my mantra, but the title of my book. Still, what are we all supposed to do? Who tells us? How do we get there? Will we know when we are there? And where is it? – I don’t know where I am, but it doesn’t look like Kansas anymore.

This life is a journey and we’re each on it in our own way, at our own pace, living in our own flesh suits – with our bodies and minds and souls. Apart from all the ‘things’ that might surround us, we are what we have. Part of my journey has been one of integrating the parts of me to be a whole person, and I feel a bit closer.

People tell us stuff

In life people tell you what you can or can’t do, but sometimes they also tell you what you are. What others say can be limiting and debilitating. … but… One of the magical things about human communication and consciousness and perception, is that no matter what people say, you decide what you are. <– I chose those words carefully because we certainly need others, yet they do not define you or me. Teachers, friends, anyone with your genuine interests in mind could be the one to see more of you than you do. This can be good and can guide us. Sometimes you aren’t ready to see, or have looked away, or have simply decided without ever looking.

People can be gentle mirrors in our lives, reflecting the best of us and teaching us to reflect back to them. – If you want to know how that works, simply smile – at someone. Without expectation or reason, give a genuine and gentle smile and like magic you can light a fire of joy or hope or friendship or even laughter in someone else.

So, 49? Today I am ready to celebrate that. Actually I’m quite ready to celebrate each day, but I spent years not happy – specifically in my flesh suit, and I am pleased to say that is not the case now. I can flow. I can dance. No, I am not a trained dancer – I don’t claim to be. I am not competing with anyone. I am me, and as an expressive human I can move – I can make shapes in space with my body, I can make sounds on the cello, I can write words, and I can smile with my soul. The tide lifts all boats. (I learned that phrase from the wonderful 20BooksTo50K writers group) The joy of my smile does not lessen when another smiles too.

My dance

Yes, I am presenting a video of me doing a lyrical flow routine on the pole. It takes a lot of strength and control. My daughter first did a pole fitness class as part of a taster programme at her university, and she brought a pole home. It never left. She encouraged me, and I taught myself. I am pleased.

And as for all the people who ever told me I can’t dance, I’m glad I decided not to listen.

Remember: You decide who you are.

We are each in our own flesh suits, in our own circumstances, with our own joys and struggles – and talents and hopes and dreams. I will not look like you and you will not look like me, and that’s ok.

Here’s to the smile that spreads and here’s to finding your own dance.



Featured image of the cupcake is CC BY-NC by Cindee Snider Re


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