A Birthday Ritual
In her book Simple Abundance, Sarah Ban Breathnach extols us to please make each birthday a sacred event and mark it with a special ritual.
Maybe you need, not a boisterous family party, but a few private hours to remember, to honor the sacredness of the profound changes that have occurred in your life. Birthdays are new beginnings, but they’re also moments of personal closure, which are crucial if we are to grow positively into our authenticity.
My partner has really taken this birthday ritual idea to the max. This will be his tenth year of riding his bicycle in the Seattle to Portland Ride (STP) and this year it is not just around his birthday it is on his actual birthday date!
There are at least 8,000 people who ride the STP each year, it is fun to see parents and children teamed up together and then there are the folks who team up and spend the days as a group in festive attire and destination spa visits at the end.
He did the ride in two days a couple of times, but now his idea of a good ride is to accomplish this in just one day. 204 miles! He has ridden the ride one time alone and I have made him promise not to do that again, it is not as much fun as having a teammate and he pushes himself too hard when alone and made himself ill. Two of his daughters have ridden with him and several times they have done it on the tandem.
We drive to the University of Washington Husky field at about 3am the morning of the ride, and a few minutes before 5am the single day riders take off. There are lots of folks who arrive in Portland – Rose Center Park by 3 or 4 in the afternoon. My partner always hopes to be there between 8 and 9 pm.
The park is filled with tents of food, lots of equipment, travel guides and Whole Foods (a sponsor) always has a free grocery bag for each participant. Although there are food stops in route, one sees lots and lots of food being consumed by the cyclists. It is very festive.
In years past, I am the team support unit, driving to the UW and then to Portland for the next day pick up. I have also prepared the training diet, which begins with training rides in early March – always building up the mileage. Sometimes there is an overnight in Portland and time for shopping and a lovely meal.
It is quite a ritual and this year I asked him not to do the STP, so that I would not be taxed into illness right before my adventure, so that the budget would not be overwhelmed, and for him to stop training, training, training, and take care of a few things around the house.
Nope – his love of the ritual, the celebration and the ride won out. He is riding to Seattle and staying in an Inn on Friday – so I will not have to drive in the wee morning hours and in the afternoon also. So add another 60 miles to the weekend.
So Happy Birthday Guy and Have a Great and Safe Ride – may it be the best celebration of all.
Every birthday, not just the ones marking a new decade, is a significant milestone. Every age brings with it three hundred sixty-five Real Life lessons. ‘We turn, not older with years but newer every day,’ Emily Dickinson reassures the birthday celebrant in all of us. And that’s certainly something worth celebrating in grand style. ~Sarah Ban Breathnach
So how do you make your day special? Come on confess here and now – you do have little rituals that make your day special. Looking forward to your comments.
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