Maddie woke up cranky. There are plenty of reasons for this (including the child's least favorite reason: tiredness), but I knew what the reasons were and was mentally prepared for the crabbiness and was able to deal with it in a calm and reasonable manner. By the time I left for work, she was clearly still not her usual ray-of-sunshine self, but there were hugs and kisses and respectful, kind behavior.
How I handled that is proof that I have grown up at least a little in the last year. (Or at least that I'm less tired myself.)
On the other hand, I was driving to dinner the day after Christmas with el Verdadero (the new nickname for That Guy I'm Dating) and a huge semi was tailgating me and then he HONKED at me and then blocked my lane when I needed to move over and when he went flying past me I flipped him the bird and yelled "FUCK YOU!" as loudly as I could, much to el Verdadero's shock and discomfort.
How I handled that is proof that I still have plenty of growing up to do.
My birthday has been spectacular so far, cranky child and all. I got out for a run before work, my work day has been meeting-free and straightforward, I got to meet my mom and stepdad for coffee, I took a Zumba class during my lunch hour, and I've gotten lots of well-wishes from friends and colleagues. When I get home, I'm going to make a favorite pasta with tuna for dinner, then go out for ice cream with Maddie, Riley, el Verdadero and his kids, and my best friend and her family. Then I'll put the kids to bed, change into my pajamas, and probably have a glass of wine and work on a freelance project.
Various people have said to me today, "You worked out twice in your birthday? You're crazy!" "You didn't go out to lunch on your birthday? Where's the fun in that?" "You're cooking your own dinner? But it's your birthday!" "Shouldn't you take a break from the freelance work on your birthday, for crying out loud?"
One of the ways in which I've grown up in the past forty-one years is to have a better understanding of what actions I can take to feel good about myself, and it seems to me that there is no day better for feeling good about yourself than your own birthday. I know that I feel mentally and physically fantastic when I exercise. I know that I feel fulfilled when I spend time with my friends and family. I know that I like to do things with my kids that we all enjoy. I know that I get stressed out and grouchy when I have things I need to do that I set aside in favor of immediate gratification
So maybe some of the things I've done or plan to do today aren't "fun." But I will feel happy about what I've done with my day and myself when it's over, and that sounds like a fantastic birthday.
Apologies if I sound preachy or Pollyanna-ish. I feel happy. It's my birthday and I feel happy. Perfect, no. But today, happy. I'm still puzzling over things: the never-ending search for work/life balance, what to do about kids and videogames, how to be a better manager, how to be a more patient parent. But now, today, for my birthday, I choose good choices and contentment.
Happy new year, everyone.