The Inaugural Feast on Forty

I mentioned two posts ago that I’m planning a year long celebration of my 40th birthday (#feastingonforty). Well, yesterday was the big kick off, and I kicked it off with a few of my favorite things. For starters, I went to a local bakery and picked up a loaf of the yummiest ever cinnamon swirl bread (toasted with a little buttery spread). With it, I enjoyed a cup of Hazelnut Cream cofDSC_0094fee served in one of my favorite mugs. The artwork you see in the picture is a one-of-a-kind original by my sweet godson. Isn’t it the best? I can’t imagine a better way to have started my day! The artwork was an important piece of this breakfast feast. It reminded me of how lucky I am to have really special people in my life. And, the little guy whose hand formed that birthday cake will always have a very special place in my heart. His mom is one of my very best friends, and his dad – well, when that sweet baby boy was only a few weeks old – his dad came to my rescue when my glass ornament adorned Christmas tree came crashing to the ground. Special memories and beautiful friendships are a vital part of my feast!

The celebrating continued at lunch with another special friend. Since she’s my most glamorous friend, it was only fitting that our lunch be glamorous as well. DSC_0099  Seriously, this meaDSC_0100l was a work of art. We sat outside in the courtyard on what was perhaps the most perfect DSC_0102day ever. The temperature was ideal, the breeze gentle, and the sun bright. I couldn’t have designed a better day to celebrate being alive another year.

I met my friend nine years ago when I was first planning to move here. At the time she was the assistant to my Realtor, and now she’s a Broker, a boss, and a truly valued friend. What I most love about her is her ability to say it straight. I trust her to tell me the truth, even if (maybe especially if) it isn’t what I want to hear. And, the feast on friendship continues…

I left lunch yesterday feeling particularly grateful. Already, I had experienced such fullness of life and grace and gift, and I knew it would continue. That’s the amazing part to me – when I stop and take the time to notice, my life is full of so much, so many people and experiences that I mostly take for granted. One of the reasons I wanted to pursue this “Feast on Forty” is so I would wake up to the wonder that already exists in my life and to appreciate it – really appreciate it, savor it, even. So, that’s what I’ve been doing.

I indulged my desire for a little pampering after lunch yesterday and went for a mani/pedi. It was lovely. The little shop I go to has those giant massage chairs. Oh. My. Word. It’s amazing to me that a really big chair and some pretty impressive technology can knead away knots and transport me to a totally relaxed state. (Never mind the side benefit of super cute toes!)

There’s another lesson: Sometimes it’s the little things that have the most impact. I know there are small gestures, seemingly insignificant experiences, that if noticed could change someone’s day, or life even! I’m learning that perspective and being awake to one’s life is everything. Having an appreciation for the little things sets us up for being prepared to embrace the big things when they come along.

This feast is reminding me of all the little gifts that add up to a really full and beautiful life. Like IMG_1612the birthday hat and balloons somebody brought to my after church birthday fiesta. My friend who brought them likely had no idea how her kindness impacted my night (nor how her humor touches my life). My idea was to invite some really fun people to eat Mexican and help me round out my first day of feasting. When I got to the restaurant, there stood several friends with a  big bouquet of balloons and super fun birthday hat. Of course, the result of this gesture was swift identification as the birthday girl and ensuing wishes of good cheer from complete strangers.

I was joined by 20 friends who gifted me with their presence (and presents) and reminded me of how incredibly blessed I am. One friend who couldn’t come (the mom of my adorable godson) had baked cupcakes for the occasion, aIMG_1617nd our other really good friend brought them to the restaurant with her super fabulous cupcake display thingy (which she, of course, would have because she’s just fabulous like that). And, we ate and drank and laughed and told stories and feasted together. It was exactly what I had wanted – to be surrounded by the people and sounds and smells that I love. And, I ate and drank and laughed and danced and embraced my most authentic, imperfect self. It was divine.

Yesterday was the embodiment of what I want for my life: friendship, appreciation for the little things, the ability to savor moments of pure joy, laughter, engaging conversation, fond memories, delight. For me, it all adds up to a really beautiful life.

So, here’s to the beginning of what is sure to be a full year. Let the feasting continue… IMG_1614

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