For the last several years birthdays have come and gone and I’ve ignored the number because age is just a number. One year I had my age wrong all year! One year on my birthday someone asked me how old I was, and I caught myself doing actual math to calculate which one I was having!
This year, I am looking at my birthday more as a Good Place To Begin A New Year! And the coming next year is like a fresh blank-paged journal, just waiting to be filled with stories. And, instead of taking “New Year’s Day” as a kind of fresh start, I decided to take my birthday, yesterday, as the point in time to begin a new year. Am I over-thinking this? Nonetheless, I woke up this morning feeling especially good – like, let’s bring it, Blank Page!
So how did I spend Day One? Today I took to the yard and cleaned out the dead dry dormant garden boxes. Then I washed all the loads of laundry. And finally, I took care of some grocery shopping. At one point I took a little nap on the couch. Somewhere in there I also drew a little in my sketchbook, watched last night’s Saturday Night Live, and made egg sandwiches for the boys.
The evening waits now, and I have a pile of clothes that need to be ironed. The Last Year Me wants to say, “Oh, just do it tomorrow….” But, the New Year Me says, “Don’t listen to Last Year. Get the ironing done – just think how glad you will be that it’s done tomorrow!”
So, I’m off to iron a pile of clothes. I will probably listen to podcasts, or maybe an audiobook to help the time pass faster. There are a couple of memoirs in my cue that I’d like to get started on. I’m still listening to The Goldfinch (Donna Tartt) which I enjoy when I listen, but it is a very long book, so I sometimes put it down for a week or two and then get back to it.
The other day I went to the library to listen to an author. Zadie Smith, most known for White Teeth. She read to us – about 7 chapters from her new novel that will be published sometime next year. Can I just say something right now? I love listening to storytelling. I love how listening to a story read aloud somehow adds even more dimensions and layers…. and my thoughts unfold like an origami page, taking me on short trips outside the narrative, like looking out the window of a train, and suddenly I’m thinking about a warm balmy night in a Sanger Harris parking lot illuminated by orange street lights after another performance of Grease at the community theater. I was 14, and I helped with the lights up in the balcony that summer.
I love so much that I can occasionally find such inspiration when I just listen. When I hear stories, or songs, or sometimes a moment of quiet. (Because, in the moments of quiet my mind sort of stops, and allows the narrative to soak in. If that makes any sense.)
The pile of ironing is waiting. Here’s to today, a good Day One of this New Year. I count it as Beautiful.