The loveliest thing about having a birthday on the first of the month is the double feeling of newness that comes with it. Not only is it a new year, but a new month. A double beginning. And just like with the first of each January, looking toward a new year, this kind of first tends to bring about a lot of reflection for me.
Two years ago, I was in a really good place. I was healthy, and I felt good about myself for the first time in a very, very long time. For my 35th birthday, I splurged on a spa-party for me and a few of my relatives (above), and we all went and got massages or pedicures. It wasn’t long afterwards that life took a distinct downward plunge. I barely remember my 36th birthday, the only one celebrated in Massachusetts. My pictures from it (below) show how haggard I felt at the time, mostly from severe anxiety and insomnia, but also from poor nutrition, too much alcohol, and extreme loneliness. It wasn’t the worst things had been, but it was close to it.
Now, a year later, I am in a much better place (below). No, I am not all the way recovered. My health (physical and mental) have suffered a lot. My family has suffered a lot. Our children are trying to recover from losing the only home they’d ever known, moving cross-country twice, and starting over in a new place. They all have mental health issues of their own. My marriage strained nearly to the cracking point and we are still recovering from that. Things were bad – but they are finally on an upward path, for all of us.
I start this year with tentative hope. After several really terrible years, I want 37 to be a good one for me. I want my life, health, and happiness, as well as those of the people around me, to improve. I want to blossom in this year, to go from being smothered by worry, depression, anxiety, and fear, into a place of peace, calm, happiness, strength, and confidence. I’ve made some personal (private) goals for this year – nothing like my 36 in 36 list from last year, which I nearly finished – to help along that path. My word for 2016 – healing – still applies, and my new goals (should) lend themselves in that direction.