In all honesty, I felt less than cheerful for much of my Blue Monday birthday. It’s estimated to be the most depressing day of the year for a reason; gloomy weather, post Christmas debt levels, dark days, and low motivation- having already abandoned New Year’s Resolutions- are all contributing factors. Add the pressure and expectation to have a “perfect day,” and it’s bound to be a sure fail.

Currently a surreal drama is unfolding that’s severely impacting my partner and his extended family. I’m not at liberty to write about it, but I can say that the situation has caused a lot of stress. He’s obviously preoccupied trying to deal with what’s happening. Though it’s not his fault, it was disappointing that my special day was overshadowed by negativity.

Determined to make the best of things, I threw on one of my Love Note sweaters over a comfortable dress. (It’s literally like wrapping myself in a soft, self-care hug, the first sweater I ever knit for myself). Then I drove to Cork City for a change of scenery. The journey takes 2.5 hours round trip. It’s been a while since I’ve browsed through shops at my leisure. I had a few things in mind that I wanted and low and behold I found them! I’ve been searching online for a specific style of coat all winter with no luck. The one I bought from TK Maxx is not an exact replica of the one I had envisioned, but it’s close. I also bought a pair of brown Blowfish Malibu vegan ankle boots at Schuh, a practical purchase.

While in the city, I took my little man for pizza at Milanos, his favorite restaurant. I enjoyed lasagna, one of my favorite comfort foods, and a glass of wine at lunch always seems extravagant. There were only a few other diners present so it was relaxing. Thankfully it was very quiet everywhere the city center, which allayed any fears of catching Covid. The thought of isolating again so soon sends me into a panic.

Later in the day I met an old friend for coffee. It was good to catch up. By the time we left Cork it was dark and close to my little one’s bedtime. He slept in the car on the way home while I chatted with my mom on FaceTime.

When we arrived, I was surprised to see my oldest son (soon to be 24) chatting in the kitchen with his sister. The beautiful bouquet of pink and purple flowers (my favorite colors) that my mom sent decorated the table, along with a heart shaped helium balloon and presents. The 5 of us ate chocolate cake from the English Market and toasted to good health over a bottle of Prosecco. We stayed up late chatting. In the end it was a memorable birthday, especially because we were in level 5 lockdown for my last two. Being surrounded by loved ones has a whole new meaning now!

I’ve been thinking about my purpose and what I’d like to experience or achieve with this next year. Today I renewed my subscription to Ekhart Yoga. At the beginning of the month I set an intention to start practicing daily, and this is the first step. Today I chose the “20 minute overhaul for your body” sequence since I was stiff after teaching my own Zumba class last night! If I can squeeze bite-size classes in between school runs, my goal of practicing daily is more attainable. There are tons of classes to choose from, and I’m looking forward to exploring a variety of them.

For years I’ve thought about becoming a yoga teacher. This might be the year I actually do it. Today I read a passage in a novel I’m enjoying, written by a Zen Buddhist priest, and the following quote really resonated with me. Maybe you need to hear it too.

Life is fleeting. Don’t waste a single moment of your precious life. Wake up now! And now! And now!

Ruth Ozeki, A Tale for the Time Being

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