Throughout my journeys in life, I have come to realize that people generally fall into two categories when it comes to their approach toward others. Some of us are “feeders“ &emdash; folks who are constantly in a giving state, giving away our energy, attention and support. The rest of us are “vampires“, most comfortable in a state of receiving, fueling ourselves with the generous attention, energy and efforts of others. Vampires aren’t innately evil or bad; usually, they simply know no other way. Whether you are a vampire or a feeder isn’t important; what does matter is that you have a clear understanding of your role within this context.
While some people loathe their birthdays because they fear the inevitable, I absolutely love them. For me, my birthday has always been an excuse to act up
and let my hair down. Not that I really need an excuse—ha! But when’s its your big day, you can get away with a lot!
This year I decided to do my birthday a bit differently. Instead of partying like a rock star—which I have successfully accomplished in past years—this year, I decided to celebrate my inner child, to keep it simple and just enjoy the moment with the most important person in my life, my three-year-old son, Lucas.
Two weekends ago was my best friend’s Gina Benning’s big 40th birthday, and rather than spend it with her better half, Ivan, and their English Bulldog, Talulah, she decided upon a girls only weekend instead. Her husband, Ivan, took her up on her special request and went ahead and organized a weekend designed for a Queen and her Duchesses and I am honored to be sharing this story as one of the three Duchesses. There is something magical about going on vacation in honor of someone you love, respect and admire. And to have it all organized for you with surprises throughout the entire experience, beginning with the destination, is something else entirely. Every day of our three day packed itinerary there were surprises and the fantasy was facilitated by the birthday girl’s commitment to making it special and unique for each of her best friends. I always knew the power of generosity was huge but this weekend was a testament to it being about so much more than money and, as a result, worth so much more to me as I share it with you.
Thanksgiving is one of those holidays that has shifted its focus to one of overindulgence. We are encouraged to eat as much as we can and drink as much as we can while laugh as much as we can and even cry as much as we can becoming byproducts of family tensions rather than togetherness. Then, the day after arrives and we are encouraged to overindulge in spending and shopping as much as we can. “Is this why we take the day off,” I ask myself? Rather than spend the day fighting for parking, and sales prices which are really just bait to encourage shopalcoholism, and dealing with masses of stressed out shoppers, I decided to dedicate Black Friday to a day of free play. Do you remember having “free play” during summer camp? There was no scheduled activity attached to it and you could do whatever you wanted in the large gym for an hour.
Rather than obsess over the holidays, the diet promises you didn’t keep, or the lurking holiday around the corner, I am offering that you, instead take a day of free play. Take one day this season for the child within. As adults we forget how good it is to let go and just run through a field; or swing as high as you can; or skateboard up and down your block. How wonderful Black Friday could be, if every single adult could spend the day playing, dreaming, climbing, sweating, laughing, running, panting, building, screaming, chasing without a worry in the world. But why limit it to that one day when life has the potential to be so much more sublime. It all depends on how you look at things, and that is not a guess.
I ventured with Stephen and Lucas to a public park in Deland, Florida, where we spent the weekend with family. While visiting this recreational oasis which, included a really cool skate park, I was reminded of the power of play. I got on a big swing and swung as high as I could while gazing up into the empty blue sky. I watched skateboarders practice their dance on metal rails. I watched cheerleaders work their routines and I watched my son run through a flock of ducks by a reservoir. And I had fun. The best kind of fun, free fun, magical fun, the type of fun that allows you to escape your adult worries.
In celebration of Mother’s Day I wanted to share my favorite film of Pangea Day, which if you were not able to tune in was one of the most amazing film festival experiences I have ever encountered. Shout out to Current TV for helping make it happen and for airing the 4 hours of extremely moving shorts. I watched the festival with best friends visiting from NYC for the weekend and we laughed, cried, cried some more and discussed some of the universal commonalities we all share. Watching the films collectively, live, while millions watched in over 100 countries was powerful.
As a mother of a two year old son, Lucas, I especially appreciated the film, The Ball which is about children in Mozambique who have found an interesting way to make a football. Click above to watch this amazing film about the power of the desire to “play.”