It’s my birthday week, yet it’s also October. Because it’s not a “big” number, the celebrations this year are low-key: Drinks with the girls, dinner with the hubs, pumpkins with the kids – such things are perfectly fitting for 37.
For not the first time, I declared my own birthday celebration with a few friends. I made a FB event and invited handfuls of friends to join me for wine. Some of them can make it; some cannot. Amid the apologies from the ones who have to miss out, I shared with a few of them this secret: I don’t take it personally.
You see, I only invited people who I already know like me. I do not question their love. Their attendance, or lack thereof, is not a statement about me or even our relationship. It’s a reflection of their state of life right now. I want to be a good friend, one that understands, rather than being someone who wages an imaginary competition for their attention.
Life is so much easier – so much better – when I recognize how little is actually about me. Sure, I put my name on the birthday invite, but how a person responds isn’t about me. I don’t have to take everything personally.
My friends, when I stop taking it personally, I am free. When I stop using others’ actions as a measuring stick of my own worth, I can feel infinite amounts of love. My identification with love, my knowledge that I am loved, comes from something bigger than birthday attendance. Sure, it might be a way I can feel love, it can be an experience of love, but it’s not the source. So even if only one person could join me on the Friday of the Birthday Weekend, I can still feel secure and feel love. Love doesn’t come from people, it comes through them.
So as for me and my birthday, I’ll feel the love of some friends from afar; and I’ll see the love of other friends from across the table. I will find the source of love by turning my attention to it rather than expecting others to fulfill it. And I’ll feel free to accept love in all it’s forms of delivery.