Happy Birthday, One And All.

My parents came to visit this weekend to celebrate my birthday early. I had big plans for us as a family and I was really excited for what was in store; not just for the fun activities but also for the quiet, intimate moments that would reconnect us after the week of holiday insanities not too long ago. Instead, just one day before they arrived, they both caught the unwelcome flu that seemed to be soliciting every household lately. Instead of gallivanting around a city they love visiting, I was busy brewing tea, pouring cough syrup, and ordering pho to-go for the entirety of the weekend. My dad was so excited to take me out to dinner for one of the nights that he couldn’t stop talking about where we were going for weeks. But as much as my mom tried to muster up the strength to go, we swapped our dinner reservations for slippers, Netflix, and an amateur meal made by yours truly instead.

It definitely wasn’t how I imagined this weekend to be but as we were reflecting on the past couple days together over breakfast this morning, we all agreed that this was still one of our best times together, flu and all. Sure, we weren’t able to immerse ourselves in the sights and sounds of the newly rain-washed city, but all of our activities just became the intimate moments I had originally wanted instead. Plus, this opened the opportunity to talk about my plans for this journey, my thoughts on what it has done for me so far, and my excitement for what more is in store. I was able to share the tokens I’ve uncovered so far from my daily reads and my dad was able to provide some insight into his own pursuit for lasting happiness years ago. I was able to share how I’ve been striving to maintain a headspace of positivity and my mother was able to provide guidance on how she creates joy when she finds herself in similar situations as I.  From the circumstances we were dealt, we were able to practice magnifying the present moment together through the mundane repetitions of this weekend.

My early birthday celebration may have not been the type celebration I thought it would be, but it was still a celebration nonetheless. One of the first things the Dalai Lama emphasized in the beginning of The Book of Joy was that every day is a new opportunity to begin again.

“No dark fate determines the future. We do. Each day and each moment, we are able to create and re-create our lives and the very quality of human life on our planet. This is the power we wield.”

So everyday is our birthday. And tomorrow, I’m going to celebrate mine in yet another way.

How will you celebrate?

DAY 7. Love, Ro

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