Monday, January 05, 2009

Happy Birthday, What's Next?

There was a time in my life, let's call in the 90s, that I believed any good night in January would count as a celebration of my birthday. I have had birthday parties thrown for me before. Toni and Tyler did a splendid job surprising me on my 21st; Regina and Rick put up with me talking up a Secret Service agent for hours at the bar next to the Pearl one year; and of course childhood is filled with all kinds of warm fuzzy nostalgia. But, the real break was the surprise party Rishi threw me four years ago. We had just rekindled our friendship after the Liz Years, and he absolutely blew my mind with a well executed everyone-I-know-shows-up-on-time-except-me party at the Garage. I actually lost the ability to speak. Can you imagine? It happened. There were many witnesses.

Since then, I've celebrated turning 30 on a beach with 15,000 in Thailand; at 30,000 feet with the woman I'm going to (eventually, really) marry; and this year, a rousing party at my house thrown by the same amazing woman.

It's all about the people. Again this year I lost words. I had written down the night before some things I wanted to say to everyone. I had imagined a smaller crowd and, well, Lou Reed (I was tired and listening to Howe Gelb, okay). I think I ended up saying something like "thanks for coming - er - it's all about the people." Then I ate my gluten-free cupcake.

So, it's no surprise I'm taking my good time getting to the point here, too.

Friends are the family I choose. I'm not saying this to disparage my family; on the contrary, I would consider life a success if I could surround myself with people of the same caliber as those who raised me. And, well, I think my life is a success. Whatever gets thrown at me, I seem to be able to keep my footing pretty well (with a little help, for sure).

The last year, my 31st*, was one of taking and being supported. I didn't realize the energy I lost. My life blood was thin.

Rishi pulled me aside at my party and asked me what I was going to do this year with my renewed energy. I mentioned my two days volunteering with the Food Bank. Never impressed, he pressed me to do more. Why not organize a larger group? I can't say I haven't been thinking that already. My energy is my greatest gift, and continuing on this path of mediocrity is cheating everyone. Today, Quincy shared a blog written by a line cook. Again, I feel like the universe, through my friends, is pushing me forward.

So, with another calendar year comes another life-year comes a chance to do something different (and, with any luck, reap different results). Here I go!

Now, some party pics, again, thanks to all those friends:

* actually, it was my 32nd year. Funny how that works.

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