Birthday Cake. A Carvel Ice Cream Birthday Cake, to be exact. Jealous? Yeah, I thought you’d be.
Indulgently, I took a vacation day today. I got up nearly as early as I would on a work day, except it was for a long run. I’ve been looking forward to this for about ten days now; in fact, I was so excited about it last night I had a hard time falling asleep. I’d planned on roughly 8 miles. In order to avoid the weekday midtown foot traffic, I decided to run an out-and-back over the 59th Street Bridge and up the East River bike path to 90th Street. It was the ultimate me-time, a birthday party of one. I listened to The Extra Mile Podcast, then switched to My Top Rated (I started in the T’s, for TK’s Birthday*). I waved at every single runner I passed — and there were a lot of them. I was astounded at the number of people who clearly didn’t have to be at work by 8:30 (or even 9:30) AM, as they were still running & sweaty at 9 or 10 AM. Apart from the mom pushing her swaddled infant (or maybe it was a football? who could tell) in the jog stroller, I was forced to assume that every other runner I met on the path was, just like me, taking the day off to celebrate his or her birthday, because otherwise they’d be at work.
The sun shone proudly, the sky was earnestly blue, the river glittered at me like a topaz (the brown ones, of course). Truly, it doesn’t get much better than this, for a birthday (or any day). What more could I want besides a long, peaceful run, fine weather, and the anticipation of an evening meal in the company of five of my favorite people? Why, to finish on pace for a ten-minute mile, of course! Which I handily did (8.5 miles; 1:25:12 time).
And what would a birthday be without out some reflection and introspection? Reflection: Pigtails affirms it’s good to be in my mid-30’s. I wear my experience lightly: hard lessons learned over the past few years are without a doubt making this year easier. Introspection: I’m circling the drain, but no longer floundering out at sea. I know myself better, I trust myself more, and I see potential and beauty within myself where before I drew a complete blank. My brother asked me on the phone the question he poses to his middle school students on their birthdays: if you could transform into half-human, half-something else, what would that other animal be? I thought: half bird, so I could fly? Half cheetah, so I could run? But then I thought: I’ve worked hard for 35 years to like the aminal I am. I think I’ll stay 100% me.
The rest of my day has unfolded nicely. I got some stuff done around the house. Watched HGTV as I ate leftover spaghetti pie for lunch. Walked Matilda a couple of times. Set up for dinner (I’m ordering in Thai food for Husband, Mom, Dad, Best Friend and Best Friend’s Boyfriend). All in all, a very full day, but exactly the kind of simple-pleasures day I dream about.
Happy Birthday, indeed.
*What does TK’s Top Rated Birthday Mix sound like? Tainted Love by Soft Cell, Take a Chance on Me by ABBA, Take a Chance on Me as covered by Erasure (please, stop laughing), Take It Easy by Jacksone Browne, Take It or Leave It by The Strokes, Take Me in Your Arms by the Doobie Brothers (this is the most chipper song ever sung by a man begging for one last fuck), Take Me Out by Franz Ferdinand, Take, Take, Take by the White Stripes, Tanto Tempo by Bebel Gilberto, Te Espero Sentada by Shakira, Tears Dry on Their Own by Amy Winehouse & Temporary Remedy by Ben Harper. Booyah!