Wednesday, November 4, 2009

10 Presents to Myself

Little Miss Can't Be Wrong. Nicki age 2.
Today is my birthday! I love birthdays. I want to thank my parents, and especially my mom for enduring not just my delivery at birth, but also my delivery from many of life’s trauma. Happy birthday to you, mom, and thanks for everything. Today is really a day I celebrate you!

I recently celebrated my sister's 40th birthday. We spent the weekend with her best girlfriends at Ch√Ęteau Elan for nice food, wine, and spa fun. While the other ladies were getting their spa treatments, I wrote by a fireplace and enjoyed a rare block of time free of demands. I knew that what I needed more than a massage was time to write. It was a gift I gave myself.

A few years ago, I started a book I called “30 Presents to Myself”. It was a comedy and here is the synopsis: A woman on the eve of her 35 birthday finds the list of things she was supposed to have done before her 30 birthday. She hasn’t completed any of the things on the list, many thankfully so, but now she wants to give herself 30 presents. Each chapter is a funny contrast between what she thought she would need at 30 and what she realizes she really needs to be happy at 35. Even if it is five years too late!
Here’s is my confession. Today is my 35th birthday, and I never finished writing that book. Every once in a while I write a chapter or tweak the plot. I think I'll go back to working on it. As for today I will give myself 10 presents. Hopefully, you can share some of these presents with me, too.
Sweet 16. Same blingy smile, different birthday!

Ten Presents to Myself
10. NaNoWriMo. November is National Novel Writing Month. What a great birthmonth present. Even if you aren’t officially signed up take the time to write. Best present you can give yourself if you are a writer.

9. Don’t be ashamed of yourself. For this day forward, I would like to be able to proudly state my age AND weight for the rest of my life. I’m 35 years old and 160 lbs. I could still stand to lose another 20lb, but remember I’m doing it slowly. When I’m 70, I’m going to want to remember how much I enjoyed being 35 not how much I lamented it. I've also been heavier and lighter and the last thing I want to worry about is my weight. On another planet, I'd only weigh a few pounds!

8. No gifts please. I don’t like birthday presents. Presents make me feel uncomfortable. So do greeting cards. Trees die, papers wasted. But I do like to know how my friends are doing on this day or any day. Tell me something good you’ve done for yourself and that will make my birthday a happy one.

7. I'm going to take a walk. I'm going to renew my energy in eating well and exercising.

6. I treated myself to a DuMore Improv Women’s Retreat workshop last month. I realized that my hesitation has to do with my fear of doing things wrong. I learned that the art of comedy (and creating) has to do with letting go, listening, and reacting positively to what you hear. Creating and comedy and improv are also about reacting in unexpected ways.

5. I sent out 7 query letters. Two agents have kindly declined. Two have requested the full manuscript. I’m waiting on the rest. My next birthday presents to myself will be sending out more queries and the final manuscript.

4. I wrote the last chapter of my book, but I am still writing (and re-writing) and still filled with self-doubt and hope. Self-doubt and hope are enemies, but they also work together to keep you from achieving your dreams.

Nicki at age 34.9 as Uhura. Sexy Geek!3. Thirty days later and my life has calmed down enough to realized the great gift I received with my Maggie Award. Best. Birthday. Present. Ever.

2. Celebrate every birthday as though it is better than the one before. The American Cancer Society has a cool birthday campaign out right now. Do you know what some people would do for another birthday? Treasure yours. (On a side note, the third Thursday in November is the Great American Smokeout. Consider quitting smoking or encouraging a loved one to quit. You might help save their life or your own.)

1. Say a pray for someone else. I’m probably here today because of
other people's prayers. Mostly my mom and dad. Maybe family or friends. Maybe even the prayers of strangers. If you are the kind to pray or meditate, could you spare a moment from my dear friend Christina Crook and her husband Mercer Crook today? They need prayers more than I need birthday wishes today.

I hope you have a wonderful day and birthday and writing day! Happy NaNoWriMo. Get writing and enjoy it.