Birthdays, Travel and New Friends

Today is my birthday! It is the first birthday where age seems to be an issue- I am holding weight in my stomach area more, the creases between my eyebrows and around my lips are turning into wrinkles, and since I stopped dying my hair, I have found a few grays! Eek!

Luckily I have friends who want to celebrate my special day with me, and encourage me to forget about all these insignificant changes that are occurring to my body right now, and help me find value in the aging process. I am “maturing”… And that process can be really beautiful if you take care of yourself.

A few years ago I celebrated my birthday in Rome, Italy, while I was a student there completing my graduate thesis work. I was out with a small group of new foreign friends, at a bar in a hotel where a lot of Americans stay while on vacation.

We noticed an older American sitting alone at a table nearby and asked him to join us.

My friends announced to the man that it was my birthday, and it turns out, it was his birthday too! He was now 74.

He was staying in the hotel on a stop on a European tour. He told us that this was his first birthday that he is spending alone; his wife had passed away earlier in the year and they had been together for over 50 years.

As the night progressed, he told us stories about his wife, his life, his work. He made me feel not scared to be getting older. He has accomplished so many things, both personally and professionally, and had fanstastic life stories to share with us.

At the end of the evening, he had the waiter take a picture of our group celebration and asked me for my address.

When I returned to America a few weeks later, the picture of all of us had arrived in the mail. I had made a new friend.

This birthday I will be out celebrating at a farm to table restaurant, Blue Hill, with new friends I made in my new hometown, New York City. The intimate, convivial dinner should be delicious, and nourishing for both the body and soul. I wonder what will come next! I’m excited at all the possibilities, travel and new friendships to come my way.

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