So, it's my birthday today. 44! Did all that time go quickly, or what? Now, I don't know if you are aware of this, but my general practice is to celebrate my birthMONTH, and, in fact, to celebrate plus and minus a month around my birthday. I'm sure this year is going no faster or slower than any other but I've been caught off guard a bit by the approaching day. Nonetheless, I think I have managed to include a pizza party, a potluck, dinner at a new restaurant, a trip to the beach and assorted other goodness into the past 30 days. We'll see what the next 30 brings. It's starting with dinner at Le Reve tomorrow night (should I call ahead and reserve my favorite dessert?) and a quick trip to Massachusetts so that bodes well.
However, for some reason, I am finding myself unusually reflective around these actual days of my birth. I'm not sure what started it but, just for example, a conversation with a friend recently about our paths led to her commenting about how all of this is God's plan and how even things we don't think are going to work out will because of said plan. I have to admit that I have a habit of not really facing my differences with this friend so I pretty much just went into shopgirl mode ("smile and nod") but I find myself wondering at why I was balking so much at her comment. I hardly consider myself an atheist, and maybe this is just my own reaction to the way, at this moment in U.S. history, God seems to be wielded as a weapon against so many people in so many thoroughly objectionable ways. I don't know. I returned home, still mulling over my objections, to this video on my Facebook wall. #SaveSyriasChildren. Also #BlackLivesMatter and, I'm pretty sure, many more hashtags that I don't know about, not to mention the 10-year retrospectives on Hurricane Katrina. I feel like a year or two ago I was thinking about the practice of gratitude and while my intention to start a gratitude journal has been the same as my intentions with almost all other journals which have led me to a shelf full of blank notebooks, the thoughts of gratitude, in conjunction with thoughts of privilege, add a sort of bittersweet note to these times. I feel very strongly that creating is my connection to our Creator God, that in facilitating creativity, in running Anthology, I am following God's calling to me. So, as I said, not exactly an atheist. But how do you reconcile things working out the way you ultimately end up wanting them to as God's plan when things certainly don't work out the way they ultimately should for so many people? I feel like there's too much underlying judgement about who is worthy or not, who "deserves" success (let alone a living wage or food or good schools). Perhaps that is just the imperfect human projection. Well, we won't get into a long discussion here but I just mention this to tell you my frame of mind on the day of my birth, when I feel both grateful for so much of my life and yet somewhat at a loss as to where to begin on using my privilege, wealth and power for those who have less. But in my dream two nights ago, an art teacher gave me her business card with her email address on it so, yes, I will follow through and see about volunteering in the schools. I know I've mentioned this before, but I am still stuck on the concept of upstream work from a radio program I heard about suicide prevention. The show started out with those toll free numbers, staffed 24/7, posted on bridges and other key sites around the country. They then interviewed a social worker who said that such things are considered "downstream" - assistance provided at the very last possible moment, when all other avenues have failed or not been accessed. And while the social worker acknowledged the importance of such measures, she also said that they take a lot of time and energy for relatively little result. The desirable course of action is "upstream" - to catch the person before they reach such a desperate state that they see no other action than to take their own life. And most upstream actions are cheaper and more effective - small actions resolving small problems. I feel like so much of what we are facing right now is being addressed downstream, that so much of our time and our resources are being spent on applying band-aids in emergency situations. Well, anyway, to my mind, upstream is really ideal, catching people while they are young and helping create the kind of foundations that have seen me through these 44 years. Anyway, that's what I'm thinking about today so I guess I can be excused for not being able to decide what I will eat for breakfast or lunch. I was menu-planning last week for our beach getaway and am already thinking about dinner at Le Reve so today might just be an ordinary day. Maybe salad from Ian's for lunch?
In all honesty, in our family, the actual day is not that important. Mother is out of town and it is just Dad and I for dinner tonight, something from the freezer because Mother came home to realize that there is no room in there at all. I will be going away for most of next week so today I should be doing paperwork and other usual tasks at the shop so it is rather a usual work day. Though since I am working my dream job, it seems a totally suitable birthday schedule. So, we'll see, perhaps the day will include updating you on all the new arrivals, reconciling the credit card, working on October's schedule, rearranging the window, placing some Christmas orders. Happy Birthday to me!