Today is my birthday. It’s a significant one. I’m hitting the half century mark. This past weekend I celebrated in style along with five other women in New York City. Here’s what happened and the very valuable lessons I learned along the way.
Lesson #1: I’m grateful for Gwenda
Two months ago Gwenda, one of my neighbours, asked whether I’d ever been to New York City. I told her that I had not. She said “well then… I guess that’s where we’re going for your birthday!” The rest, as they say, is history. She sent an email invitation to the other women on the street asking who else wanted to come. Three other women signed up with enthusiasm, along with another woman I play hockey with. The result: six women boarded a plane to spend three nights and three days in New York City. None of it would have happened without Gwenda.
Lesson Learned: One person with one big idea can make magic happen.
Lesson #2: Husbands & Kids Were Left Behind
This trip was all women. We did, however, have full support of the husbands. Every single one said to their wives something along the lines of “go and have a great time and help Liz celebrate in style!” This trip would not have been possible without their support. While we enjoyed New York City they made sure the kids were fed and drove them from one sporting event to another.
Lesson Learned: It takes a team to make magic happen and in this case the husbands were very much a part of the team. We couldn’t have done it without them!
Lesson #3: New York City is An Amazing City
We made full use of our three days! We went to the top of the Empire State Building, took a boat tour on the Hudson River, rode bikes in Central Park, saw a play, went on a double-decker bus tour, went out dancing, did tons of walking and shared many totally, delicious meals together.
Lesson Learned: Boredom and New York City simply don’t go together.
Lesson #4: Most Memorable Moment
Many memorable moments took place in New York City. I think for me the most memorable one was in Central Park. It was a spectacularly warm and beautiful day for November. People were wearing shorts! We rode bikes around the whole park and stopped halfway for a picnic. We found a beautiful spot on some rocks overlooking a pond. Our picnic consisted of a handful of chocolate covered almonds and a beer. I had my portable music machine with me and I danced and sang “New York, New York” along with Frank Sinatra on those rocks (and that was before the beer!). It was a moment to be remembered!
Lesson Learned: Beautiful memories are meant to be cherished and acknowledged. It is memories like this that make life so sweet.
Lesson #5: Birthdays Should Be Joyful!
You can’t believe the kind of energy that surrounded us on this trip. Everywhere we went people could feel our happiness and joy. Everyone wanted a piece of it. They wanted to join in and be a part of something so special. Will I ever forget this birthday? Not a chance! I won’t forget all the beautiful places I saw. I won’t forget all the wonderful things I did. Most of all, what will always take center stage in my heart is that I had five fabulous women with me who loved me, cared about me and wanted my birthday to be special. Together they made my birthday as special as a birthday could be!
Lessons Learned: Birthdays are meant for celebrating. The best part of a celebration is not where you, what you’re doing or what you get. The best part of a birthday is the people you get to celebrate with!