Saturday, January 11, 2014

The Odometer is About to get Half Way to 70...

... or so my Dad was kind enough to remind me earlier last week. :-)

My girls Salsa and ChaCha are ready to party!
So, my birthday is kind of a big deal. Not for anyone except me. My birthday is a unique experience to me, and I think your birthday should be a unique experience for you too! Even if you don't like to mark the day with a big public celebration, you should take the time out to do something you love, or be around the people you love, or try something new. Heck, do all three!

It's rare that I really promote Dr. Seuss, but in this occasion the man is spot on: "Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You." That should be true every day, but none so much as when your birthday rolls around.

So why, you may ask, do I make a big deal of my birthday? Well there are quite a few reasons actually...

First, is because it wasn't that long ago that I couldn't really see myself having many more birthdays. I really didn't have an eye on the future and one of the struggles I had as I hit my teens and twenties was depression. So I was almost surprised every year when my birthday would come around and I would feel like Whew! Made it another year! How the heck did that happen? For some reason depression has this big taboo around it as far as topics one might discuss, more so than just about any other topic. You know what though? Depression is a thing, it happens to some people, it happens a lot more often than you think it does because no one ever wants to talk about it. Since I have been maybe 27 or 28 I have become really good at recognizing when I'm in Depression's grasp and I manage to deal with it pretty okay, but that was not always the case. So now, I like to celebrate out loud that I'm here and I'm not going anywhere!

An Ornament from a family friend "Celebrating Adoption"
Another is because I am adopted. I am a proud, wear it on my sleeve, fly the flag if there is one, adopted kid. Don't get my description mixed up, the family I've been with since I was 5 days old is my family. I couldn't imagine feeling the same way about them for anyone else. I love the fact that fate landed me in the family it did, and my life is all that much more rich because of how and where I grew up. There is however a larger than small piece of me that needs to celebrate me. I am part of this wonderful rich family tree, but I'm not genetically tied to it. I need to take time out to recognize and be proud of myself because when it comes down to it... I am the foundation of my own family tree, or as I like to put it my family tree starts with me! 

Now this always brings the one question to everyone's mind.... "Did you or do you ever want to find your biological family?" My answer to that has always been that I am here if they want to find me, but I am not going to make any great strides to find them. Now, there was an opportunity that I kind of fell into (the details of which are too long and sorted to explain here) just after I turned 28 where I was one person removed from having a phone conversation with a biological relative. The goal was to see if I could glean any medical history about my biological family. This person, called a woman who would technically be my biological maternal grandmother and asked if my birth date means anything to them, and if it did, would they be willing to share any medical history information. The response was clear, "No the birth date means nothing to us, but there is no medical history to share, tell her that we do not want to be contacted." 

That was the message I received from this intermediary of sorts. Well hmmm.... It took a minute for me to absorb that. Basically I interpret that as being a flat out denial of my existence, and quite frankly that makes me angry. I am a strong, powerful, independent spirit and to be told that I don't exist really sticks in my craw. I wanted to yell it from the rooftops that "I EXIST DAMMIT!" So I make sure that on the date that I know at least one biological relative thinks of me, that I am off somewhere living it up doing something that makes me happy and feel alive.

My Tattoo Celebrates my Roots
A few years later, I was in the small town in Wyoming where I was born, with my Dad, visiting the doctor that delivered me and subsequently set up my adoption. We also spent time with this very kind lady who was the intermediary for that fateful message. I asked after that phone conversation from a few years prior and learned that the woman who might be a biological relative had since passed away. Thus ending any chance I will ever have in my life of ever being able to seek out any biological family. (long story, but trust me the lead is dead.) I'm not all that broken up about it, I just have even more reason to celebrate the person I've become.

Generally I insist on having a dance lesson ON my birthday, at least I did during the years of dancing because it is what really makes me feel alive and as previously stated many times it feeds my spirit. THIS year since my birthday is on a weekend and I have not even checked with Steve to see if Get On The Floor is open on that day, it seems I'm getting something even better! I don't know all the details, because some of my friends have taken it upon themselves to plan a soiree for me, but I know there will be dancing! I am continually honored and humbled by how good the people in my life are to me, I am indebted to them for the rest of my life.

The last big reason I make a HUGE point to celebrate my birthday is because it is the time that I attack what would normally be called "New Year's Resolutions". Only that always seems forced to me, and far be it from me to do anything the same way as anyone else! I take the time around my birthday to take stock in what I want to keep in my life, and what I'd like to change. I then attempt to outline a plan for how to make those changes.

Does anyone else celebrate their birthday in a similar manner?

This year a big thing for me is to work on Time Management, and to be extremely mindful of my eating habits (which generally means that I need to EAT, as I am not overweight because of over eating, but rather from lack of consuming enough calories and my metabolism is in a constant flux with starvation). In addition to making sure that I am mindful of my eating habits (I refuse to use the word "diet" because I think it comes with ugly meanings and nasty memories) I will start to make and reach goals in physical fitness, whether it be weight loss, or increasing my stamina, or both. I will see an improvement there.

If you made or are making promises to change in this coming year, what are yours?

Would you like to work on them together?

Next week I will write about the bits of dancing that have happened, I didn't have a lesson the previous week so there wasn't much to miss. And of course you'll hear about my birthday celebration. :-)

What is your favorite way to celebrate life? I'd love to hear it!

Don't forget, if you're in Chicago you can find me at Get On The Floor Dance Company, I'd love for you to come on by and join me in the Ballroom fun!

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