I once thought THIRTY-FOUR is something that happened to other people. Of course that thought happened some fifteen years ago and I have mocked myself enough for such vanity. This Birthday when thirty four finally “happened” to me, I felt nothing but fabulous. Given the fast pace at which time is moving, age for me seems to be losing its numerical importance. I pick and choose what I enjoy from various age brackets and embrace them in my own time and capacity. From the 1 to 10 years age bracket, I have selected the simple joy of coloring. So much so that I bought a whole lot of coloring post cards and sometimes mail my shoddy but most earnest attempts to people who would keep them out of love (and mostly guilt).
Not really a morning person by nature but just because I was embarking on yet another year of hopefully great things, I gave my morning alarm a chance to fulfill its destiny. Jozi cringed when the lights came on at 6 a.m. but we are family and we do things together. Given that Mr. Tall was doing some tax convincing at a corporate breakfast overseas, it was left to the two of us to decide how this day would go.
We started with gratitude because somehow Birthdays, New Year’s, anniversaries tend to inspire that along with some reflection. Following that very course, I did my morning prayers, sat up and read beautiful birthday messages and just as I was about to get ready to paint the town salmon pink (because red is out of my league now) the doorbell rang. We were expecting Jozi’s friend Merlin for a play date but instead it was a delivery man.
Romantic, loving gestures that come in forms of hand written cards, flowers and thoughtful gifts are just my recipe for an over the top Birthday celebration. So, not holding back I told the very cheerful delivery man in an even more cheerful squeaky voice that it was my Birthday!! As he fetched a bouquet for me the birds chirping around my imaginary halo took the dancing and singing a notch higher.
A usually groggy morning person this unusual happy gait was accompanied by nothing but extraordinary self-love, until my bubble burst open. The big pink bouquet of roses that was handed to me became the bearer of all things that you don’t want to hear on your Birthday. I read out condolences from the note card (first silently to myself and then loudly to Jozi) and personally shot every bird that was dancing around my halo, followed by a scream loud enough for the driver to stop and the halo to pop. His timing for wrong delivery couldn’t have been worse.
Quickly erasing the mental picture of the roses sitting on my coffee table, I informed him in a slightly embarrassed and very irritable tone that this wasn’t the house he was looking for. In the same cheerful manner that now seemed to be the reason why he got this job he said “Ridhima, I do have something for you, I know it’s in the back here somewhere, sorry I handed you the wrong package”.
It was too late to perform CPR on the dead birds, also by then Jozi had lost his patience and wanted this delivery van off his territory (also known as the massive pee pool!). Just then, amongst all the confusion and barking came out a small most beautiful, bright bucket of Daffodils. I didn’t have to read the note to know if it was mine or who sent it. My Tax man brought back the music, the birds and the halo in just four beautifully composed lines. Walking back into the house with my Daffodils, I knew exactly why they inspired Williams Wordsworth to write a poem . (I have typed one of the verses below, read the full poem by clicking on the highlighted word, it’s beautiful! ).
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze….
Of course the bouquet of roses wasn’t for me, he knows too well that I prefer potted plants to bouquets.
A new year for me had barely begun but I had already learnt my first big lesson. Not everything that is big and plenty necessarily brings joy. Sometimes our joy comes in a small package of yellow sunshine like flowers. The importance is to have faith that we will be remembered on our good and bad days. To believe that on those days, love from near or far will find us. Sometimes as roses other times as daffodils.
As I write this, the daffodils are sitting pretty on my coffee table and I am closing the first draft of my Birthday blog post at a sunny breakfast for one! The rest of the day will be nothing but corny self-love. At thirty four, if we have not learnt to love ourselves and celebrate life unapologetically then there is little meaning to receiving or hoping for it from others.