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Monday, November 27, 2006

giving thanks

thanksgiving day heralds the start of the holiday season, a time of merriment and mirth. it also happens to be the time when everyone starts to feel the stress of being pulled in all directions, with work (year end deadlines!), relatives (get-togethers and the ensuing drama!), and personal to-do's (holiday photos and gift shopping!) all vying for attention.

and if there's anyone right now who's finding that there aren't enough hours in the day to get things done, that would be me.

it's bad enough that i'm trying to balance a full-time job with a somewhat regular yoga practice. and weekly visits to the chiropractor. and training runs for all my planned spring marathons. and christmas shopping errands. and the usual array of family commitments.

for example, just in the past four days, i've been to three parties -- a thanksgiving feast, a niece's birthday party, and another niece's debut (my first invite ever to this filipino tradition, which is very surprising, considering that i lived in the philippines during my teen years; for some reason, neither i nor anyone i knew chose to go the ballgown and waltz route when we came of age). and even if all of those parties were practically day-long events, i still managed to squeeze in a 90 minute yoga class on each of those days. hey, i do have my priorities :)

it's nuts, but i have no one to blame but myself for this scheduling nightmare.

you see, december 22nd is my birthday. and this year, it's a BIG one. milestone birthdays as big as this one deserve unforgettable celebrations. the problem is, with the holidays quickly approaching, i couldn't see myself finding the time to plan a big event. not only that, but given the craziness of the season, i knew that i would never be able to nail down a date that all my potential invitees would be able to make. honestly, how can i ever hope to compete with all their holiday party and christmas shopping commitments?

so after some careful thought, i came up with a list of close family and friends, gathered their email addresses, and sent out the following invite. i then sat back and waited to see what the feedback would be:

it's hard to believe, but on friday, december 22nd, 2006, i'll be marking a significant milestone -- i'll finally be eligible for AARP membership! yes, it's been 50 crazy years since i first made my appearance on this earth, and despite earthquakes, floods, drought, disease, and the occasional pest, i'm still alive and kicking.

so in order to celebrate this momentous occasion, i've decided that a run-of-the-mill party just won't do. heck, anyone can get a group of people to congregate in one place at the same time; just say "food" and they'll come running.

so here's the plan:

i'd like to celebrate the 50 days leading up to my 50th birthday with 50 people who've played a significant role in my life -- friends i've worked with, played with, laughed with, cried with, as well as relatives i'm not ashamed to admit i share a common gene or two with. in other words, you.

and you get to pick the date, the time, and the activity. you can be as creative as you want.

it can be something culinary - anything from a cup of coffee (that'll be iced tea for me, please) at starbucks, to a lunch at an ethnic hole-in-the-wall, to a gourmet dinner at a five-star restaurant.

it can be something cultural - a museum, a movie, a play, a concert, a dance performance, or maybe even a visit to some place i've never been (the getty villa? the newly-renovated griffith observatory?)

it can be something athletic - we can walk, run, hike, bike; as long as it isn't death-defying, i'm game. and you get bonus points if you agree to join me at a yoga class, because after all, i have to keep finding something to blog about at www.accidentalyogist.blogspot.com.

you can also bring along as many people as you want. the more, the merrier.

but there's a catch. it has to be one invitee a day, each day. no doubling up. for example, it's perfectly fine if three people on my invitee list take me out on the same day, but it only counts as a day spent with one of the three. the other two still have their own "celebrations" to plan. sorry, them's the rules.

but wait; it gets trickier. since there are only seven weekends in the 50-day period, you may end up with no other choice but to schedule our little get-together on a weekday. if it helps any, i work in the valley and live on the westside, so i can meet you on either side of the hill. don't worry; i'll work with you.

the countdown starts on friday, november 3rd.

so please RSVP as soon as possible so i can start planning out the 50 dates on my birthday celebration calendar.

i can't wait... getting old has never been this much fun!


within minutes, the first RSVP came in. and the next. and by the end of the next day, almost a third of the people on my list had gotten back to me, all saying that they were more than happy to celebrate with me! next thing i knew, i found myself juggling birthday get-togethers with all the other things i already had on my calendar.

and so far, it's been a blast. besides an assortment of lunch and dinner dates, i've had friends and family join me as we ran a half marathon, hiked up a mountain, watched "borat", attended the theatre, listened to the la phil, visited a museum, consulted with a psychic, and of course, took a few yoga classes.

i can't say that it's been easy trying to make sure that i spend each day with someone different. there was actually a time when i found myself having to call people during my lunch break just to find out who could meet up with me that evening. but all in all, things have managed to work out so far.

thanks to the platial mapmaking site, i've been able to log the where, the who, and the what of each day in a map called a series of fortunate events. it should make for some interesting reading when the birthday countdown is over. i'm only halfway through my celebration, and already i've been to places all over town. and even on the east coast.

so in the spirit of thanksgiving, i'd like to take this time to thank everyone who's played a part in my birthday celebration so far. thanks for taking the time out of your own busy schedules to find the time to humor and entertain me. thanks for your gifts of friendship and love. and thanks for all the wonderful meals that i know i'll have to start working off after the holidays are over :)

this is turning out to be my best birthday ever, thanks to all of you!