“Magic is believing in yourself. If you can do that, you can make anything happen.”
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Sunday is my birthday. This post is my celebration.
I am, and always have been, someone who believes in the magic of one’s birthday. I would in fact love to make a huge deal out of everyone’s birthday. Except… not everyone shares my opinion that it’s a magical day in which you’re allowed to do anything you want and the whole universe is on your side. Actually lots of people get sensitive about their birthdays, and since it’s so personal, I try to just politely express my enthusiasm for the fact that they were born.
I always wake up feeling particularly special on my birthday… even if there is nothing happening to indicate that this is true. It feels like the earth is sending me signals to let me know it’s paying attention. I wear clothes that make me happy, even if they’re silly. I spend some time alone just appreciating being alive, often meditating on my place in the cosmos and how good it feels to have been created as a human on earth. (It has to be said… I really indulge my imaginative existential side.) I talk to my mom. I use my body for something wonderful (in the past this has included a long run by the water, an African dance class, and setting a deadlift PR) just to make the most of the birthday magic. I spend time with a person or people who mean a lot to me. I eat good food and demand back rubs and enjoy my own unbridled enthusiasm for life. Part of the magic is that there is no space for negativity on such a day of gratitude and joy.
My birthday is a personal celebration of my existence. A celebration of the trillion little actions, decisions, and coincidences throughout history that miraculously led to me being born. A celebration of what I’ve done to make my time on Earth special, or important, or just fun.
This year I will celebrate how far I’ve come in a career that fills me with gratitude, excitement, and inspiration. I love what I do on a daily basis, and I love the people I do it with. I work with some of the best trainers in the country, and my client roster is full of enthusiastic, intelligent, delightful people who allow me to step briefly into their personal journeys. I have a loving family, an amazing boyfriend, some exceptional friends, and a grander sense that I belong. This last year of my life has been the best so far, and I look forward to what happens next.
Birthday magic protects against all fears and doubts. I wake up inherently knowing my own value, and understanding that everyone else has value too. I wake up feeling love for all of human-kind, and tolerance for imperfections. I look people in the eye, I breath deeply, and I accept myself.
It kind of seems like maybe I should live every day like it’s my birthday, but… that’s not how magic works. The rest of the year, I have to write in my gratitude journal. I have to constantly muster up the courage to face my own fears. The rest of the year I have to remember to re-frame obstacles as challenges, and to not get bogged down by frustration at my own limitations. The rest of the year, I have to put in the time and energy required to live the positive, productive, and gracious life that I want. But one day a year I get the gift of waking up just… knowing I’m doing it all right.
So if you see me Sunday doing something completely inappropriate, like hugging strangers, or running barefoot through the streets, or singing at the top of my lungs… I invite you to join me. Cuz I’m full of magic, for 24 hours. It’s unlimited, of course, and it’s transferable. Which means I can share some with you, if you’re careful with it.
I hope this post starts to spread some magic, in the form of self-love. Take a moment to remember how special you are. Think about how the people who love you think you’re so awesome. And celebrate the fact that you’re alive… even if you don’t believe in magic.