Thursday, October 27, 2011

On birthdays and blessings

Today is my birthday. I have taken to writing a list on this day every year to celebrate the things in the world I most cherish, the things that help me understand my place and role, the things that simply make my heart soar. If you're interested in previous lists just go to other Octobers on this blog, you'll find them there.

I am so grateful to be in this beautiful, perfectly broken, transcendent world. And I am grateful for:
  1. Each breath.
  2. My lungs and heart and body.
  3. My senses.
  4. Luscious tastes.
  5. Colors and patterns.
  6. The world rushing by my ears.
  7. And even the persistent whine of tinnitus, that reminds me that I am alive.
  8. The scents that waft by, noticed and ignored.
  9. The touch of my lover's hand, the rasp of my clothing on skin, the breeze on my cheek.
  10. The beloved people in my life, known and unknown.
  11. My family.
  12. My chosen family.
  13. My dear, dear friends.
  14. And those who wander further from me, my co-workers and those I see in passing.
  15. And the strangers I will never know who each have their own complexities, dreams and birthdays.
  16. Story
  17. Art
  18. Music
  19. And the wisdom to occasionally remember that these things feed me as much as any food.
  20. Work. Not merely a job in these tight times, but the work of my hands and my heart.
  21. Craft, the labor to make something good.
  22. The places books take me to.
  23. The joy of discovery. "Oh yes!"
  24. And sharing that discovery. "Oh yes, and..."
  25. My mind. And the range of emotions.
  26. And the minds of others.
  27. The resilience of my body.
  28. The gifts of age.
  29. Wonder.
  30. Disagreement.
  31. Problems to be solved.
  32. And mysteries to ponder.
  33. The places I will never go.
  34. Wildness.
  35. Water.
  36. Wagging dogs.
  37. Language.
  38. Singing, even if others may not appreciate my voice.
  39. Laughing until my stomach hurts.
  40. Good food.
  41. Change. The passage of time and the knowledge that things will change.
  42. Silence.
  43. Unexpected beauty.
  44. And this life. This singular, glorious life.
Any others? 44 seems like such a short list.

I wanted to end with this picture and the reminder that, no matter how tired, frustrated or fed up we are at any one point in our lives, things will change, whether or not we want them to. We can influence most of those changes and, even if we can't, we can moderate our own responses. The person I was at 12 didn't yet know about the smell of the air in Tuscany, the joy of listening to a new storyteller, that persistence pays off. I feel so tender when I look at her, wishing I could tell her that things will get better. Someday I'll look back at the person I am now, at 44, and marvel at what I didn't yet know.

Oh, and let me add - the cat's name was Taffy. She lived to 18 and was a great friend.

(c)2011 Laura S. Packer Creative Commons License


  1. I vaguely remember someone who looked like that picture. :-)

    Happy birthday dear heart.


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