It's my birthday!
July is my birthday month, and yes I am claiming the entire month. I suppose I get this from my mother. She taught me to love my birthday. She always made sure that is was an adventure, that I was surrounded by friends, and that I felt like a princess for the day.
When we lived in Brooklyn, between the ages of 7-10, my birthday parties were spent at a local amusement park. The park was named after the American Journalist Nellie Bly, a woman who traveled around the world in 72 days. She was a writer, an inventor, an industrialist and a woman ahead of her time.
While, I don’t remember learning about the woman back then, knowing who she is now makes the setting of my birthday parties all the more fitting. What I do remember from these birthday parties is riding the Whip, the sound of carnival games, and the long picnic tables that sat in the shade where birthday cake was served. My favorite memory, however, is of riding the FUN SLIDE. I loved climbing the steps that felt like they would never end, stepping into my burlap sack, and then sliding down racing my friends laughing a screaming all the way.
It should then come as no surprise that when I turned forty, I decided to celebrate the occasion at Walt Disney Land with my brother and sister. The three of us reverted back to being children for the day. We laughed, we teased one another, we rode every ride, and ate more junk food than I thought possible. It was magical.
Now that I am living bi-coastally and have been spending the last couple of birthdays in NY, I have started a new birthday tradition that includes a trip to Coney Island and two rides, (that’s right, two), on the historic wooden roller coaster the Cyclone. At one point in her life, my mother road this roller coaster every day after school. I can only imagine how whimsical this time in her life must have been. As this ride, in my opinion, is the best roller coaster EVER. You get a glimpse of Manhattan at the crest of the highest peak, and as you fall at speeds that make it impossible to lift your arms, all of your worries dissolve into a combination of laughter and screaming. A little bit of added excitement comes in before the ride leaves it’s station, as the attendants joke about the age of the ride “Oh well, that bolt again. I’m sure it will be fine. Good Luck!”
Thinking back to my visit to Coney Island last year, I realize how few days I spend allowing myself to act like a kid, just have fun for fun’s sake. Creativity experts tell us that fun fuels creativity, and Julia Cameron talks about the importance of artist dates in her book The Artist’s Way. As a creative who also works with creatives, I should know better and can see that I am not doing what I need to do to keep my creativity flowing. So this year I am making a commitment to not just reserve this kind of fun for my birthday, but to engage in a fun childlike act every month.
What fun activity can you plan for yourself this month?
How do you refill your creative well?