"Life is a journey, not a destination. There are no mistakes, just chances we've taken. Lay down your regrets, cause all we have is NOW!" - India Arie's "A Beautiful Day"
(I needed a little musical inspiration as I woke up on the morning of my 30th birthday and no one does it better than India Arie's music. This song played and gave me a refreshing spirit to get through my day. The song played as I drove to class in Maryland for an ear prompter lesson, a vital skill set to have in my industry.)
I woke Sunday morning exhausted and longing for more sleep, just a few more minutes to lay still and not answer the phone, not think, just breath. Unfortunately, that wasn't an option. I had to bypass all the voicemails, Facebook messages and other forms of birthday wishes that strolled in from friends and family. Time to hop in the shower and revitalize myself for this long but grateful day in front of me. I couldn't kick into high gear and felt today was going to be a challenge. I promised myself I'd find time to read my daily proverb before zooming to class but it didn't happen. I did and always find time to stop and at least thank God for waking me with another day of life and blessings. Out the door I go as I become aware that this day will be off to a better start if I put some food in my belly. I don't have time for it but I call my instructor to notify her I'm running late and speed on over to Burger King for a chicken sandwich with cheese and mayo. (Sidenote: I made a decision to remove dairy and meat or at least red meat from my diet for 30 days and improve my workout regimen. I failed this morning but I did resist the cheese on my sandwich.) The highway is moving great and all the drivers seemed to be on the same path to hurry and get there because we were rolling at least 70mph the whole way. I actually arrive in the general area of class a few minutes early and so I decide to peak at some of my bday wishes. I had to start with my dad because I'm so grateful to have in my life as he is responsible for giving me life. He wishes me a Happy Bday and reminds me that I'm getting up there by saying "You're almost half my age, baby." Thanks Daddy for that wonderful reminder...lol. He calls me right back because he forgot to me he loves me and to be careful and the emotional day begins or thickens. As I mentioned earier, this new chapter of my life is bittersweet without my mother here so I've been choking back tears left and right throughout my celebrations this week.
Class begins and we are rolling along when the power starts flickering and eventually gives in to the thunderstorm tearing up anything in sight. We completed the last two hours of our 4 hour class in the dark with candles lit all around the table, Koom Bye Ya Style (spelling?) I learned so much in that class and met some great industry folks perfect for networking, including a well known News Reporter for Channel 7.
So I head to my truck to just sit and breath for a moment before I plan my next move. I drive to an empty lot up the street because reception is bad where the class was held. I check and respond to all my voicemails, BBMs, text messages and emails including the two from my nieces (6, 4, and 1) singing me Happy Birthday. This tickles me and makes me more emotional because the youngest cant even speak but she was in the background humming a little tune that resembled the birthday song so I'll take it. Ok so I knew I wanted to swing pass Walmart and my post office box before heading to DC for my celebration dinner. Looked like I had plenty of time so I go for it.
This next part of my day had the power to get the best of my exhausted, emotional self but its a bayooteefull day so were not gonna give in. 495 was backed up with rubber neckers looking at an accident on the other side, so when I could I got off at Route 1 to take some back roads that will get me right to Walmart. (Sidenote: I found it rather country of me to make my mission for the day getting to WalMart, especially on my birthday.) Route 1 is backed up and I turn off to other side roads to get turned around three times due to fallen trees blocking the roads I usually take. Back to the traffic and stop lights with no power on Route 1. After hitting one last road black I decide I should call Walmart to make sure they even have power. From Silver Spring, MD down to DC there were numerous power outages so it's likely that they may not have power, but they did....YESSSS! I whisk in like I'm on a grocery store game show and search for the items on my mental list as I observe that my party starts in 30 minutes and I still have to change somewhere and I'm more than 30 minutes away, OH NO! I checkout and hop back in the Chevy, down to 295 which once again had traffic so as soon as I got a chance I got off at 197 and took more back roads. This time I said "I'm not hitting another road block" so I go past my usual detour and head to the next closest highway with no lights to get me to the party as soon as possible and that was Route 50 and it was an excellent decision. While I'm doing 80mph on the highway, my nieces attempt one last time to talk to Auntie BJ on her bday. I answer and they sing me more songs and tell me how they want to come to my bday party and I promised we would have a special nieces only bday party for Auntie. (Sidenote: Make a mental note to actually do this, those girls remember everything.) I ended the conversation with the girls so I could focus on the road as I was approaching DC and don't have time for no tickets for driving while talking on the cellular. I do however begin texting my guest at each red light to say I'm running late and see ya soon. I start changing my clothes in the truck while driving. "Slide the dress down here and put one arm in there and grab the belt from the back seat so you don't forget the completion to your outfit, BJ." I am the queen of driving and doing a gazillion things, not saying it's a good thing but if I were on a game show for most tasks completed while driving, that prize would be mine. Through this entire experience I put the India Aria playlist on repeat, I needed the confirmation of a beautiful day because it looked gloomy in more ways than just the weather.
Now I arrive at my party and to my disappointment not one person is there. I'm scratching my head because I know I'm 30 minutes late. WTH? A few folks started texting me throughout the day to cancel due to power outages and not feeling well and blah blah blah. (Sidenote: I understand everyone has their own life to live and I mean this statement in no negative light just as an observation. We should all try to make an honest attempt to be the best friend we can be to those we appreciate having in our life. I'm not perfect but I can recall numerous times when I've had a drop of energy left in my body and I pushed myself to be there for friends in times of need or celebration. I do appreciate those who made an attempt to come but just couldn't get it together and even more those that limped in and arrived right from the airport to bring in my bday with me. OK moving on) Again another moment in my day that could've got the best of me if I allowed it. The positive in this was that I finally had a moment to myself and can relax with my new iPad and catch up on some work over a cocktail with the most important guest of all...ME! But shortly after I freshen up and order my cocktail an unexpected friend is the first to arrive. Shout out to Mikey, not to be confused with Mickey ;-) So slowly but surely friends started rolling in and the night was great. The sushi was fresh, the hookahs were a delightful addition to the festivities and I even bobbed my head a little to the music playing softly in the background. I received lots of love, cards, hugs, laughs, photo opps, and alcohol from some of my closest friends. As much as I wanted to keep the night going my body had other plans. I think we left around midnight and I let my Chevy take me home to my bed for a few hours of sleep.
My alarm kept nagging in my ear to wake up at 545am on this Monday morning to get ready for a 730am bus back to NY and two auditions. Hey... Mama got money to make, 4 days of celebration is more than enough. Besides this was the just the peak of my Celebration of Life, no need to drag this particular weekend on any longer. My life up to this point has been full of so many lessons and emotions and accomplishments and disappointments and much more. But I have yet to walk through so many other doors in this journey of life and I'm ready to take those chances. Couldn't have asked for a better Birthday and it was truly A Bayooteefull Day!