The wind is covering my face.
The sun is warming my hands.
The sky is expansive to my thoughts.
The air is crisp to my ears.
The soft, yet steady ground catches my every step.
Every year on my birthday I take the entire day off, alone. 100% solo. I often get asked, why do you want to spend your birthday alone? Quite simply…because I like to. Plus, I use it as an annual renewal for my brain and heart space. This day used to be all about me. I would schedule a long massage, go to lunch with a close friend, and shop ‘til I dropped. Those things are all well and good, but I’ve learned that for me personally, I get more long-term joy from listening, feeling, seeing, touching, and experiencing the day as it unfolds.
Over the years I’ve progressed to taking a long hike in a new location on my own during the morning, and carving out solid time in the afternoon for a fun activity. This year I incorporated my word-of-the-year ‘Play’ and tried out the roller skates that I received from my dear parents as a requested birthday gift. Admittedly, I took two glides forward and fell right on my bum, but I got back up and tried again.
In the evening I spend time with my husband and three monkeys; these are my kids - I don’t actually own pet monkeys ;) We enjoy dinner and of course, dessert! The Zookie from Zoey’s in Marion is my absolute favorite.
Before the evening wraps, I write a few sentences about the year that has passed, the solo birthday experience, and what’s to come. This year (and most years) I drew a blank on the ‘what’s to come’ piece. In general, my brain is not super futuristic. It does not think long-term about the next 5 years or even the next month. There are days when I can barely think about what we’re eating for dinner in the evening, let alone what’s coming up next year. After several minutes of blank thoughts and a blank page, I thought, “That’s OK. It will be what it is meant to be.” Over the course of the last few solo birthdays I’ve started using this day as my unofficial New Year. This has been a fun and freeing exercise. Come January, I’m not caught up in the calendar turning and feeling a grand fast forward motion to set and achieve every goal and intention that can possibly be done. Instead of following the path, I continue to find ways to forge my own and encourage others to do the same, in whatever way is right for them.
This year was particularly interesting because I was in the middle of a book, Necessary Endings by Dr. Henry Cloud. In the book it states, “If you have ever seen a healthy rosebush with its vibrant, fully mature blooms, you know the admiration that the one who nurtured that beauty deserves. So how do these people do it? Certainly there is talent and art behind every beautiful garden. But there is also a method behind the beauty. It is called pruning. Pruning is a process of proactive endings. It turns out that a rosebush, like many other plants, cannot reach its full potential without a very systematic process of pruning. The gardener intentionally and purposely cuts off branches and buds that fall into any of three categories: 1) Healthy buds or branches that are not the best ones, 2) Sick branches that are not going to get well, and 3) Dead branches that are taking up space needed for the healthy ones to thrive.” After reading this section of the book, it became clear. Once a year I consciously step out of my environment to prune the areas of my life, business, and all the slivers in between. It requires my complete focus and attention, but ultimately leads me to begin anew each and every year. For this, I am incredibly grateful.
Happy New Year everyone, in whatever month that takes place in your conscious space. You have every power to begin anew, at any time…for you.
Written by: Sarah Watson, Creator of Calm at The Restoration Project
Get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org