Happy New Year to Me….—by Jamie Levine
I love birthdays—especially my birthday. And it’s not about the cake (I don’t even eat cake). It’s not about the presents (At this point in my life, I don’t really get many presents—and I certainly don’t expect them). And it’s not about hitting important milestones (I hit the legal drinking age decades ago!). But one thing it is about is the attention…as well as the possibilities.
My birthday is on February 1st, and for decades, I’ve been touting February as “birthday month,” with the implication that I celebrate all month long (and that my friends should celebrate right along with me). Now, in the era of Facebook, it’s easy for people to remember my birthday—but, out of habit, I still relentlessly remind everyone of the date (and I believe old friends must have it imprinted on their brains). It’s my day and I like to milk it; it’s the one day on which I don’t have to feel guilty about focusing on me. And I don’t expect much from my friends and family—simply attention: Cards, calls, texts, emails…oh, and flowers are nice, too.
It’s also crucial that I celebrate with the people who are important to me. This year, I kicked off my birthday with some fun pre-celebrations: Dinner in the city last week, and a pre-birthday bash at a local bar this past weekend. Both nights were spent with close friends whom I’ve made throughout the years, and reminded me of how blessed I am to have so many wonderful people in my life who care about me. A few friends who couldn’t make it to my party promised to celebrate with me on other nights ahead, and of course, my birthday, itself, will be spent with my family—and most importantly, my daughter, who loves birthdays as much as I do.
The other important thing about my birthday is that it comes exactly one month after the start of the “official” new year, which gives me one month to practice for what really counts—my new year. I never make resolutions for January 1st, and this year, I didn’t make any specific changes in my life on January 1st, either. Instead, I just started to change my way of thinking…and I’m hoping February will bring me some positive new possibilities. I’ve been practicing the virtue of patience when dealing with my daughter, and I’ve been focusing on taking better care of myself, emotionally, and giving off the right kind of energy with which to attract the love I want in my life. I’m nurturing my treasured friendships—and developing new ones. And I’m getting ready for my first experiences working as a speech-language pathologist (as a grad student in the clinic) and am prepared to take more risks in order to learn more. I intend not to simply grow older—but to grow better. And no matter what happens, I think 42 is going to be a very good—as well as a very significant—new year.