Happy Birthday to Me!

Updated: Apr 18

If there's one thing I absolutely love about life it’s to celebrate my Birthday! I always believed each new year of life is a blessing; an opportunity to start writing a new chapter.

A Birthday, to me, is a brand new chance to look back and determine if I need to seek a new path or if I should keep on driving in the same direction. It is also a reminder that time is moving. Fast! That's why I am so thankful to God: for every single new possibility he presents me; to live, to learn and to relish another day to celebrate, including my most recent thirty seventh commemoration.

Each sunrise is a fortune. I feel grateful just for being alive; for being able to breath. This past week, for example, before going to sleep I said grace with my daughter, as usual. Though, this time I mentioned to her I would like to pray for a fellow mother.

“But why do we need to pray for her?” she asked me, puzzled.
“Because she is having to go through a lot of surgeries and procedures. I just want to ask God to take good care of her.”
“Oh! She is having a lot of procedures?! That’s a good thing!”
“Is it? How so?!”
“Well, the more procedures and surgeries she does, the more used to it she gets!”
“Hmmm...” I sounded out, unsure of what to say and at the same time, trying very hard not to giggle, meanwhile my eyes filled up with tears.
“What are you laughing about?”
“Nothing... that’s a very interesting point of view. I just haven‘t thought about it that way before.” I said, as I snuggled closely with her.

In that very moment I found myself laying in bed with her. My heart full of love for this little girl. I couldn’t possibly imagine being in this other mom’s shoes! My heart felt tight for her, but on the other hand, my daughter’s lovely naivety warmed up my soul with her positive mindset.

That same night, while saddened to think how much this lady has been through and yet she is overcoming every single obstacle placed ahead of her, I felt peace in my heart for knowing that I do not have to worry about waking up every morning thinking of how many bullets I will have to dodge. Instead, God has giving me the chance to arise and enjoy; to take advantage of what life has to offer me, at least for now. Because if there’s one thing no one is certain of, it‘s what tomorrow will bring. Right there is another great reason to celebrate my Birthday! Any Birthday!

As I watch this beautiful woman, mother of two kids graciously sharing her story and how she had been given six months to live by doctors in the past, yet she beat cancer, life has still not been gentle to her. Nevertheless, God has miraculously granted her a chance to live and I have no doubt despite of all the hard times she has been put through afterwards, she is still thankful to be here. Looking at her speaking, smiling and observing her gestures and mannerisms, you would never know. More than witnessing how strong she is, I am able to see how much she has learned from her experience, as a person, as a woman, a wife, a mother and as a believer. “Pressed but not crushed” is how she accurately defines herself.

Every so often we hear stories about elders laying on their death beds sharing their thoughts about the things they regret the most in life. Even worse, for the matters they never realized were something worth trying. Not, at least, until it became a bit too late. Sometimes, as I hear some telling me I am very mature for my age, I like to say that life has taught me so many lessons. I have learned a lot from the pain that was strained on me by life. Nonetheless, I also found out that wise individuals are able of acquiring knowledge by being attentive to others, their choices, mistakes and some of the experiences they have been through (https://kleinnanda.wixsite.com/thenandakleinjournal/post/good-problems-come-with-solutions). Thankfully, because of that, I don’t have to wait until something catastrophic happens to understand how important it is to live life and to be appreciative of the present moment.

Overall, as I previously have mentioned in other posts, my main goal in life is to be happy. To me, happiness is a variable state of mind. In my case, with the exception of joyful circumstances, it's mostly based on the time and energy I spend on what and with whom: part of that happiness comes from doing what I enjoy, by spending quality time with the people I love and with friends that are dear to me.

Very early in life I learned that friends are more than people to hang around with, but in many cases, they are earthly angels placed in our lives by God. And that is one of the reasons I delight myself by celebrating my Birthdays with them: more than a celebration of my life, it’s an opportunity to celebrate who I have in life and what each and every single one of them represent to me. After all, they are a big part of what life is all about.

This last celebration is going to be remembered as a fun one, just like any other I had during this last few years since I moved to Miami, but with a "however": this time a piece of my heart was a bit saddened. Perhaps because due to so many unforeseen events that took place during last week, my Birthday dinner didn't feel complete, since I was missing some of my peeps. Despite that, the ones who made to it where sure to give me plenty of reasons so smile, laugh and to cry:

There were the friends who are always there for me...

The kind who makes running easier. That friend who more than a running mate is a friend I can open up to and someone who listens to whatever I have to say anytime I'm in need!

There were the friends who have never missed any of my Birthdays since I moved to Miami.

On the other hand, there was the Diva friend who always steals all the attention! But, I always end up hating myself simply because I can’t help but to love him too, including his hair that takes zero minutes to look better than mine even after I spent one hour plus eighty dollars at the hair salon.

Which is totally ok! Because to be quite honest, there's nothing worse than putting those two kinds of friends mentioned above together and to watch them hug ferociously at my Birthday celebration like they did on January, 29 - 2017 at the finish line of our first Half Marathon just as a reminder.

However, there was also that great friend who smuggles a couple of bottles of your only wine of choice into the restaurant to make sure you and your besties have some available for the occasion. He embarrasses you to death, but he is such a devoted kind of friend and his efforts are so highly appreciated that you even forget about it and start to see him as the venue's sommelier every time he approaches you to check if you would like some more..

But not everything is a bed of roses, mostly when you choke on a piece of bread on your own Birthday while the drunken people that supposedly came to celebrate you, entertain themselves as they watch you out of breath with a smirk on their faces:

"Are you choking?!" They asked me, as they sipped their wine.

But there's no reason to be concerned here! After slowly walking towards the bathroom using the "baby steps method" to make sure I wouldn't slip with my high heels and fall on the slippery floor while chocking at the same time, I elegantly, finally, managed to make to the ladies room alive. After punching myself a couple of times, everything was solved! And, as far as the piece of bread, it was actually pretty tasty, just in case you were wondering...

"Are you sure you are ok? Just in case, there's an emergency room right across the street, just so you know. If you need anything you can walk there!" the guest informed me as he held a glass of wine with one hand and pointed at the ER's building with the other.

Moving on, there's also the type of friends who make sure to tell you the only reason they like you is because you make sure everyone gets hydrated after the long runs. But you know no matter how much they pick on you, you are certain that when you get home you will open another Birthday Card of theirs with the most beautiful things written inside, with words that will, literary, bring you to tears once again.

Nevertheless, not all friends play that nice. There was that one friend with a beautiful smile. One of the sexiest runners I've ever met, who on my own Birthday dinner defied me and had the guts to threaten me, telling me she will not think twice before taking something everyone knows it belongs to me: my parking spot at the park!

But looking to the bright side, at least, she is not like some other idiots who will be late for a run, making me and everyone else hang under cold freezing rain and outstanding wind gusts of over 20 MPH just because they can't wake up in time. Friends like this who constantly tell me I am annoying, obnoxious, bossy and so on, including at my birthday celebration. Still, he took the time to drive back home after the dinner to pick up my gift, brought it over to me and decided to stay for one more beer with the reminiscent of the troopers.

There are also the friends who are madly in love with papayas, until some heartless person had the courage to tell her what she was in fact eating were sweet potatoes... and the friends who haven't forgot that story after three years have passed.

There are also the friends who take the time on a Thursday evening, after work, to drive over half an hour from Miami Beach or Miami Gardens just to spend a couple hours of this very special day with me, knowing they have to drive back and wake up early next day to go to work.

And there was also the friend who always praises me. But to balance things out there was amother one who when he first meet my husband he went on to tell him he was sorry for him, because I am a little bit crazy.

"How not to love these people?!"

On the other hand, there were the friends who just brighten up my day with their smiles; with their good energy; or just by nicknaming me “Loquita”. Or the ones who are just starting to warm up to the group and add so much to it, also by bringing their spouses along to join this group of crazy, but good hearted people! Not to mention the kindness for taking the time to bring a gift even though I have never have gifted them with anything....

As I previously mentioned, despite of the fact it was another fun celebration, my heart didn’t feel the same as the previous years simply because we all have that special friend. You know, that friend we all know is special.... but this time he couldn’t make it. I missed his energy, his funny jokes and the most stupid things he has to say! This time he was taking care of his mother. Next year, I will make sure I will reserve a seat right next to me and maybe we, as a team, will be able to figure out how many miles there are in four laps in a four mile loop when you do the laps ridding a bike instead of running. Can you tell I missed you so much, my friend?!

Regardless of the friends who couldn't make it for various reasons, I was happy. I got even happier when some who said they had other events going on that same evening but they found a way of making it to celebrate with me. Also, for the ones who took a moment to stop by and give me at least a hug. Or the ones who made me very emotional by showing up unannounced or when they repeated for consecutive years that they do not go out during the weeknights, but because it was my birthday, they made sure to come.

Finally, there was the friend who despite the fact she is not single anymore, still she made sure to come and bring her boyfriend along. To be quite honest, I am a huge fan and I can't wait for the premier of the new season of the series "Fuegos de Kendall"! Hopefully they will be able to get me a discounted package for the whole series!!! (maybe for my next birthday!)

I am so sorry if I didn't post a picture of everyone here. I guess we were just enjoying the moment and I completely forgot to take a picture with all of you, but be sure to know I remembered to write something about every single one of you in this post...

To know that despite your busy schedules you took some time to come and celebrate a day that is special for me is so humbling and means a lot! Once again, thank you so much for every single one of you for your time, your love, your gifts and cards!

With all, celebrating my Birthday is a way to express to God how much I appreciate the chance he has giving me to live and for all the things and the amazing people he has put in my life.

Let’s Celebrate!

"BTW... What are you doing on your Birthday?!"

Carpe Diem!

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