Happy Birthday

Dara LevanBlogLeave a Comment

Kind cards, thoughtful texts, phone calls, and unexpected gifts hugged my heart this week. Grateful is a word that barely describes my feelings as I write today’s blog. I live in and with daily gratitude. However, during milestones and celebrations, I seem to be more keenly aware and appreciative of my friends and family.

As I wrote in last year’s post, “This Is 44,” I prefer being the giver rather than the receiver. I absolutely love hosting and throwing parties for others! But to celebrate my own birthday has always felt weird and uncomfortable. To be honest, I usually blush and become embarrassed when someone sings “Happy Birthday” to me. 

This year I consciously decided that it is time to shift. I give the love of my life/best friend—my husband—as well as Alec and Zoe all the credit. They’ve insisted I honor and celebrate June 2nd in such sweet, loving ways; every year is better than the one before it!

They surprised me with flowers, balloons, and a delectable cake (yes it was gluten/dairy free and purple!). My family also gifted me a lush, green heart made of moss that now hangs on our wall. For me, it is an artful reminder of living, loving, and profound personal growth this year.

Love is what deeply touches my soul and spirit. I paused this weekend to soak in the rays of love I felt shining on me from near and far. Love is and will always be my favorite gift of all.

This has certainly been a tender, unpredictable 365 days. I will begin my 45th year focused forward rather than glancing backward. There is freedom in being present, which I wrote about in a recent blog post (The Present in Presence) and in not taking things personally, which I also discussed in one of last month’s blogs.

I slowly inhaled before blowing out the flames; I realized others around the world are taking their last breath as I extinguished these candles. I often hear people complain, “Ugh. I’m getting SO old!” And my response is always, “Aren’t you blessed; THAT is a gift. You are lucky to be alive another year.” 

The first half of my ‘40s has been an awakening. Growth requires introspection, motivation, clarity, and self-respect. It is humbling, it is honest, it can be exhausting, but it is worth it!

So today I celebrate not only 45 years, but also those who have lived it with me. Some of you I’ve known for a moment, some a year, and some nearly a lifetime. I love and appreciate each of you in ways that transcend words. Happy birthday to us all!

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