Yes, it was my birthday yesterday! [happy birthday to me!]
And, with the annual year-olderness that has once again snuck up on me [how is it always a surprise?!] I keep find myself looking over my shoulder for a change-fire…of some sort:
1. There will be candles that on my cake or cupcake or ice cream or whatever my daughter deems appropriate for birthday dessert. There will be one more candle this year. Will there be enough room? Will it be enough to cross the threshold of smoke alarm sensitivity? Like fitting – or not – into my favourite jeans, this is some magical candle-count boundary of made-up significance. But significance none the less.
2. There was a lack of birthday urgency in the morning while we all slowly awoke and took our time remembering my birthday. No fire here. Should there be? It was a Saturday with all the usual Saturday Things of Importance. The proverbial smoke from a birthday fire has a lot to cut through…
3. And yet. I got a tear-worthy card from my daughter. One of my clients brought me birthday flowers. A neighbour brought over a bottle of wine. Lovely little sparks to mark my annual trek.
4. At the time of writing, I am waiting for an eye exam. It’s overdue and I am wondering if I need a new prescription or a transition to bifocals. Eye strain and aging have lit a fire for a this change at least.
The fire at 41: smoke alarms, friendly sparks and the resulting teary, bleary eyes.
Contrast that with the fire at 29: twelve years ago, yesterday, I was getting my first tattoo. A different fire. A different change.
So what is this fire at 41? An urgency? An out-of-control blaze? Or a steady flame that sparks up every now and then? Something to run from or seek comfort at? All of the above. Transition and change are constant – there is some form or another, small or large. Birthday or any other day. Sometimes it’s the first tattoo. Sometimes it’s a 0.25 change in your glasses prescription to accommodate “eye fatigue”.
And, sometimes, it’s about marking these changes on your birthday. Light them with an important date. Add fuel to your fire. It’s how to shine.
So, in the end, I didn’t need to keep looking over my shoulder for a fire. I just needed to remember that there is always one around sparking change. After all, the alchemical symbol for fire is the same as the Greek and mathematical symbol for change:
Whether smooth, slow smouldering or a burning blaze, shine on, and change well!