Can you believe it? Not only did I celebrate my birthday with zero alcohol… drinking didn’t even CROSS MY MIND, not for a single second, until the day was completely over and it was around midnight and I was lying in bed with my partner who all of a sudden asked “hey, was that your first sober birthday in like 15 years?”. I was flabbergasted, but yes, it was. And it wasn’t even a huge deal. WOW.
In fact, it was the most amazing birthday I’ve had in years. It felt very similar to New Year’s Eve (see previous post): absolutely no pressure to fulfill crazy expectations but on the contrary, focusing on what really matters, a.k.a. deeply connecting with loved ones.
I Skyped with my parents (who live in France) for a whole, solid hour — which is rare but in this case felt very fluid. I even tested the waters with my “Post-PhD gap year” idea, half expecting them to disapprove and call me an irresponsible hippie, but was surprised to hear them be very encouraging. They said “you’ve been working so hard, you deserve a break. Traveling the world or whatever you want to do sounds like a great plan”. Whoa.
Then, I spent the day with my boyfriend, and it was beautiful. He had already made me coffee and a smoothie when I woke up. Then, he took me out to lunch at a lovely Nepalese restaurant (I was born in Nepal), gave me the most thoughtful and beautiful gifts, including a magnificent hand-written love letter which I tried to read though tears of joy (it was impossible, everything was blurry), meditated with me, did other things with me that I will not describe on this blog (^^), made me tea, talked to me for hours, hugged me, took me grocery shopping and helped me make delicious vegetarian dishes from the Zen cookbook he gave me (one of his many gifts), made me feel loved and cared for and special and grateful for the beauty of life all day long.
It was perfect.
Whereas before I would have felt guilty, awkward or unpleasantly overindulgent in being the center of attention, this time I was able to open up and be gentle to myself and just let go and ACCEPT: accept love and generosity from others, let someone else take care of me instead of being the helper/savior, and most importantly, give myself permission to to genuinely ENJOY it all, welcome it, embrace it, savor it and be grateful for it – instead of pushing it away and feeling like I don’t deserve it –> not enjoying it –> and of course feeling bad for not enjoying it, etc. etc.. LOL. Here, I was able to let go and receive, on so many different levels, and let it all it happen without fighting it or trying to control anything. NONE OF THIS would have been possible without sobriety and all the Recovery work I’ve been doing.
Life is so precious. We forget this multiple times a day. It can end at any moment. There is not enough time for us to waste it on feeling miserable, numbing ourselves, running from core issues, from the happiness that lies on the other side of fear. My dear WordPress friend Nadine is going through a difficult time at the moment, and she was in my thoughts many many times during the day.
This morning I woke up feeling immense gratitude and compassion for all the people (and beings) who are suffering in the world. And it might sound cheesy but I don’t care, I am throwing the reminder out there because I certainly need it on a regular basis, and maybe it can help other people too:
May we all cherish the precious moments of brilliant sparkling intensity, joy and love with those around us. These moments are all destined to slip into the past, like fish between our fingers. All we can do is release them back into the flow of time and let them swim happily away, like they are supposed to. But before they do: may we experience them fully, truly, authentically. Either way, we don’t really have a choice. We have to let go at some point… and we can never bathe twice in the same waters.
❤ So today at the age of 33 -oh god!!!- I am grateful to be here, alive, sober and wide awake, on this crazy planet. And I want to savor every second of it while it is all here. And I sincerely hope that you can too, wherever you are. And that we can share the joy with whomever we cross paths with on this insane adventure- journey we call life. 🙂
Hang in there !