I had a birthday the other day.
I’m old enough (har) to say that my birthday isn’t a big deal anymore. I’m past the driver’s license birthday, the voting birthday, and the drinking birthday (in both the countries I’ve lived in). But a birthday’s a birthday, and you always want to feel loved on your birthday.
I drowned in it. Oh, was I loved on. There’s a banner of congratulations in Japanese above my desk. There are Swedish friends waiting to hug me very soon. My parents and my sisters and my Sam sent me love in all the ways they could.
I’m living an amazing life.
An amazing thing about this Japanese business manager gig is that it’s allowing me to reclaim some stuff. Like that whole “never lived with people I liked” thing? I have now. And it’s great. Whether we all yell at each other to go to bed, whether we stumble in together at 1 a.m. and have a toothbrushing party in the bathroom, when we wake up quietly, when we meander up the road to the office together, when we stay in the office late at night reading “the signs as” to each other and cackling too loudly, I have loved my housemates and I have had that feeling now.
And that just makes me go yess!
I had a turmoily ten days before I showed up, and somehow the new and the challenging has sifted me and shaken me and let me stand up more firmly. I reach for the dances every morning, the responsibilities every day, the winks and jokes exchanged with new friends, like a flower reaches for the light. I am opening up, I am steadying, I am coming to peace.
An old soundbite from a blog post in 2013, I think, said, “For the first time in a long time, I can say that I’m okay. Not that I’m going to be. I am.”