The Quest for Balance
Written by Stephanie Renee on October 11, 2015
Birthday season is, for me, always a time of deep reflection and assessment. Am I where I want to be? Doing what I want to do? Having fun? Learning? Growing? Loving and being loved? Lighting another candle on the cake means you’ve completed another rotation around the sun successfully, on some level. So I believe that a look back over the path you’ve traveled and what you’ve achieved along the way is a justifiable exercise.
This week, for the first time in several years, I get to celebrate both my birthday and that of my favorite late great-aunty in the same week. Ida Marcita Estelle Milton. I always thought it sounded like she should be a Spanish baroness, never seen in public without a tiara and accompanying bling. And, to a certain extent, that’s how she lived her life. My mother got married and quickly pregnant with me about a year after her own mother passed away, so Aunt Ida–as the 2nd eldest child of her generation–became my go-to spoiler and “insider.” When it became obvious that I would take my first breath in October, the entire family routed for she and I to have a shared birthday. I held out for a few extra days, but over the years that only gave Aunt Ida and I a reason to drag out our respective celebrations as long as possible with multiple cards, phone calls, songs and presents traveling the distance between DC and Philly. If she and I were in the same city, she’d extend an invitation for us to get dressed up and go have a luxurious meal to celebrate being Libra ladies. Cosmopolitan, intelligent, insightful and extravagant. Aunt Ida could have written an encyclopedia about loving yourself unconditionally and treating yourself like the most important person in your life. Because, you are.
This year marks another milestone birthday, as we humans love to pay extra attention to occasions that end in 0 or 5. I don’t have any particularly special plans, but I am deeply mindful of this past year feeling significant. Last year, though I set an impossible list of wants and completed most of them, I was still in the midst of the journey when my birthday rolled around. Still digging out of boxes from my move and getting to know my neighbors. Still understanding the workings of my new car. Still, transitioning. This year, this milestone, gives me the safe distance to look back on all of those things and appreciate that I work damn hard, for and with everything I have. And, as was evident through Aunt Ida’s example, there is no shame in reveling in the journey of being you. Demanding, achieving and celebrating…often.
So, no special plans this year. Just more of what I always do, but mindfully so. More live music. More bubbly. More laughter. More deep breaths. More applause, for each day I’m blessed to see and be. That is the true quest for balance. How to live fully in the space of more, without falling over.