"Why should I be unhappy?
Every parcel of my being is in full bloom."
For my birthday last year, I went to the beach. I was playing in the ocean in Florida. Leave it to me to jump in right before a hurricane, but I was in there because it would be my last chance that summer. The waves dunked me, and I humbly went back to my beach towel. I feel like that's what 2020 has done to all of us, so this birthday I celebrated with renewed gratitude.
As I turned another year older a few days ago, I sat on my deck instead of a beach, enjoying my pretty lights and candles. As many people did this year, I celebrated quietly. Since I live away from my family, I chose to have a small dinner with friends. I received whatever else popped in throughout the weekend. As I do every year, I reflected on the previous year and life.
A year of crazy
First, with the pandemic and then all the ridiculousness of politics, I can't help but realize I am living in the middle of history unfolding. As a student of the subject, it's kinda cool. Watching it in real-time is exasperating, heart-wrenching, and chaotic all at the same time.
I've had my ups and downs like a lot of us. Questioning my sanity, my choices, and my next steps have taken up a lot of my time. As the world awakened and grew, I did the same thing. At various points, I realized I forgot to have fun during some of it and that the becoming is as valuable and beautiful as the achieving.
This past year, I awoke to a lot of truths about myself and moved forward.
The more profound truth that I discovered was the acceptance of myself at any given moment was conditional. If I was "productive," waking up at 7 AM even if I didn't sleep well, or doing something for my business, it was a good day, and I was satisfied. If not, I micromanaged myself to make sure I did what I needed to, making sure I worked hard enough.
Sounds exhausting, doesn't it?
It was, and I knew I couldn't keep going like that. When you're always questioning yourself, you're not trusting yourself. If you're not trusting yourself, you're not honoring yourself. If you aren't doing these things for yourself, who the hell will do it for you?
I am growing into unconditional acceptance of myself and where I am at in any given moment.
A weekend of favorites
The quiet of this birthday brought with it the unexpected gift of stillness. Savoring it, I deliberately took time to enjoy my favorite things. On the morning of my birthday, I went for a hike with my dog, seeking the special kind of peace a mountaintop brings. We took a long steep way to the overlook, wearing ourselves out in the best way.
I spontaneously created a Prince Music Festival weekend in my own house. Since Prince is a particular favorite, I don't listen to him every day. I often play music in the background while working or doing other things, so I don't play his music sometimes. I like to sit back and listen with no distractions.
Until yesterday, I played him and mostly him. I threw in some Led Zeppelin on the day of my birthday because they're my number one band. Other than that, it was only Prince. I discovered tracks I didn't know existed and rediscovered song gems that I overlooked before. I had the best time with that.
I realized that sometimes we save the things that are nearest and dearest to us for "special" occasions. Haven't we all learned by now that life is a "special" occasion? The time to enjoy everything is now.
So, at this moment, I'm not only celebrating another year of life, I'm celebrating me. All parts of me are beautiful, even the muddied ones that I have the opportunity every day I breathe to clear up.
Who I am is pretty fuckin' okay, no matter what I'm doing. That knowledge is the greatest gift I am thankful for.
"Every day is a blessing from God.
And I consider it a new beginning.
Yeah, everything is beautiful."
Until next time... look behind and beyond the veil...
Sameena K. Mughal, Author, Freelance Writer