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The Best For Last: The Three Things I Learned From My Birthday Celebration

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In each and everything we do we should be able to say we learned from it and for me, last weekend was no different. As I type this I have a fever and a throat that feels like the business side of sandpaper. While there are few things quite a disappointing as finishing a big weekend with a cold, it sure was a lot of fun getting here.

As you know it was my birthday  (and is it just me or are these coming faster every year?), a time to celebrate with friends, look back on the past year and ahead to the upcoming. But in reflecting on that time, I realized there were three big things I learned.

MY FRIENDS ARE MY TRUE GIFTS: I had two birthday parties this year (hence, the cold), each one attended by several close friends. When you’re a kid or even a young adult, you see each other at school or work and that friendship is sealed by the commonalities of life at that time. Then something happens; you get married, you get families, you get busy and before you know it, it’s been six months since you sat down for some chat time.  The great thing about my true friends is that when we do have a chance to slow down for conversation over coffee (or wine) it’s almost as if no time has passed and we pick up right where we left off.

THE OLD GIRL STILL HAS IT!  Well, at least to young, over-served crowd. On the eve of my 49th birthday, our little group was stopped by a couple of Brazilian guys looking for a nearby bar. Using GPS to bridge the language barrier, we told them how to get to it at which point one of the young men, seeking to express his gratitude to me, tried to plant one on my middle-aged lips. And when he found out we were birthday buds, well, that meant in his mind, we were even more destined to be together, forget that I was born 27 years before he was. I laughed and politely declined his amorous advances; what did you THINK I was going to say?

I SAVED THE BEST FOR LAST:  Well, the old girl, SORT OF still has it because by Sunday afternoon I was feeling pretty bad. See, Sunday was the big family celebration and the kids had been talking it up all week. But by the time dinner rolled around I was coughing, feverish and struggling with the aforementioned sore throat. Luckily, it was a come-as-you-are affair and I came downstairs in my finest footie pajamas and terrycloth robe.

Buff had tried a new dish I asked him to make and it was awesome. The kids had set the table and laid out a little surprise too. Along with my favorite cake (Carrot cake), they had with their own money, bought some of my favorite candy but also, being frugal, they added a few boxes of chocolate hearts, now, on deep discount post-Valentine’s day. So it was a birthday, Valentine’s bash and I thought it was ingenious!

Sometimes we are so busy, consumed by the pace of life, that we forget it’s the little moments, like a special dinner or sale candy, that fill in the places between the pillars. Don’t spend so much time running between the big ones that you miss the ones that add texture and meaning to this thing called life.

I’m not, which is precisely why I’m having carrot cake and chocolate with my coffee this morning.

What about you, how do you keep from being consumed by life and what gets you focused on the things that matter?

More from me:

Reframing the mudane: The car as a communication aid

I’m thrilled to be partnering with Hallmark in 2012 for its “Life Is A Special Occasion” campaign. Of course, the characters in my rantings are real and the opinions are all my own.


  1. DawnKA

    February 20, 2012 at 8:18 am

    Love it!!! Here’s to a fabulous New Year!! I have the same fun with my friends, although we live far apart and we all have families, etc., once we get to talking, it’s on 😉 Hope you get better real soon 🙂

  2. Kristen

    February 20, 2012 at 8:34 am

    Happy belated birthday to you and I hope you feel better soon. Keep celebrating 🙂

  3. Karen Baitch Rosenberg

    February 20, 2012 at 8:39 am

    Happy birthday, and keep celebrating until the next one!

  4. Mike McGinley

    February 20, 2012 at 9:19 am

    Sounds like a great way to ring in a birthday! : )

  5. Liz

    February 20, 2012 at 10:38 am

    Happy birthday, gaw-juss 🙂

  6. Jennifer, Playgroups are no place for children

    February 20, 2012 at 10:40 am

    Happy belated birthday! Carrot cake for breakfast sounds perfect!

  7. Melisa Wells

    February 20, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    Happy birthday! (better late than never!) PanCAKES, carrot CAKE, I don’t see any difference. 😉

  8. Rachel - A Southern Fairytale

    February 20, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    Happy Belated Birthday! Hey, it’s carrot cake – it MUST be nutritious 😉 and absolutely perfect for breakfast 😉 cream cheese goes on bagels, sugar in coffee and carrots are healthy — there ya go 😉

  9. pattyrowland

    February 20, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    so glad you had an awesome birthday weekend rene! now see if you can rest yourself for a spell! xoxoxo

  10. Maria

    February 23, 2012 at 9:06 am

    Very nice to read it out.

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