Birthdays can be weird. Well I can feel weird about celebrating my birthday. All kinds of unexpected emotions can come to the forefront on this day for me. Things that I can’t quite place my finger on or fully understand. Funny how that can happen. In all other respects the day of ones birth is a regular day for everyone else.
Birthdays were magic when I was a kid. It was a day or even a few days of food, fun and gifts. Classroom parties with cupcakes and a family dinner of my choosing. One year I wanted to be “fancy” and asked to go to McDonalds for dinner. I was also five or six at the time. They required no effort on my part for people to acknowledge it. It was just a great day of people wishing me a happy birthday. I felt cared for and loved.
As an adult though, it has lost some of its magic. It has become an obligatory thing with Facebook notifications telling me when it’s someone’s birthday. These notifications have become so routine that it can be easy to scroll past them. It feels forced, this reminder of someones birthday as can the response to it. At least from me it does.
Birthdays have made me selfish. As a teenager I wanted more of everything, more attention, more fun and food. I wanted the biggest bouquet of balloons to walk obnoxiously through the school hallways. Remember when those balloons were the thing? Are those still something highschoolers do?
As an adult part of the magic is gone because I am the one who has to plan it. Which feeds into my people pleasing aspect of myself. Will people want to come? Will my invite be ignored? I worry if people will have a good time. I have found too that some years I want to tell everyone its my birthday. Other years I welcome my close friends and family wishing a happy birthday but really don’t desire the attention from so many people at the same time.
Neither are wrong or right. The key to having a magical birthday as an adult is to let go and allow the day to unfold as it will. Enjoy the well wishes from friends and family. Celebrate however you see fit, because this is the day of your birth ( along with a few thousand others). This year I did a little of both, allowing the day to be what it was. It was a series of good times with my amazing family and friends. For this I am grateful and my heart is full.
There is nothing quite like the feeling of a story gaining traction. It can be more thrilling than riding a roller coaster. And I love roller coasters. Just as with writing, roller coasters have their ups and downs. There is the wait in line for to ride it, then its over too quickly.
I have struggled with writing the sequel to my novel for the past year. There was something missing, a plot point or character that just would not work. But I was unable to see it. I was experimenting with this one and it just was not working. Some parts of the plot were working but others parts just would not gel.
So I worked on it here and there, writing and rewriting. Creating outlines, note cards and then throwing them out because none of it made much sense to the story. Other times I paused working on it, allowing my brain to work on it subconsciencely.
Then it came to me while watching a movie, I knew exactly why the story wasn’t working and what had to be done. It meant losing a character entirely. Which is always hard as us writers do become quite attached to them. Losing him meant another character comes out of the shadows.
This is how writing works. The breakthroughs coming after several drafts, reworking plot points and going back and forth on what will work in the story. This breakthrough is wonderful but also means having to nearly start over. It helps that the it has good bones, so not everything needs to change.
This effort is worth it. It is worth seeing something through.
Keep writing the story, rewriting and pausing if needed. The words will come and when they do, be prepared for a flood of them to come. Figuring out a stuck plot point can be so wonderful. It is worth the hardship of getting through those sticky plot points.
For the past five years I have chosen a word to define my year instead of list of resolutions. Since starting this tradition, each word has revealed something new to my life. Pushing me to accomplish different things in my life, including writing this blog. Each word is more than simply a word but more so a theme for the year.
At the start of this year I did not have my word. Half heartedly, I tried out a few different words. But none of them felt right. In reality, they felt wrong, false somehow to where I am in my life.
Then it came to me. Actually it had be in front of me the whole time. Coming up several times in conversation with friends.
This is my year of learning.
Learning about myself, who I am in Christ, my community and the larger world beyond.
I need to learn.
I am willing to learn.
I want to learn.
It fits in perfectly to where I am in my life. I look forward to seeing how this word will affect this year. The adventures and experiences it will take me on.