The Craft of Self-Care (And How a Birthday Party Gave Me a New Perspective)
Almost three weeks ago, I had the opportunity to join several women at a birthday party. It was for Alicia’s birthday, and was being held at a place very close to my heart: a day spa at a casino an hour or so from my home.
The story of how Alicia and her sister Marlisa and I met is just one of the important lessons in this story.
But first, a bit of background. For a few years now, I have been utilizing the “day spa” concept of self-care. When life gets to be too much and I want to run and hide, I do it at this spa. No expensive treatments are necessary; just me, my books, journals, pens and my cell phone (have to be a responsible Mom) and I give myself a full day free to do whatever I choose! Mostly I steam, jacuzzi and sauna myself into a semi-vegetative state of relaxation.
One day, I struck up a conversation with a woman who was doing a series of stretches while in the steam room. Ya know how you can just tell that you have a lot in common? That’s how it was. Later that day, in the locker room, I again ran into Alicia who was with her sister Marlisa. We had so much to talk about: how I was exploring writing and started a blog utilizing my pen name; that they marketed their 98 year old grandfather’s book (check out their website at afishermanslanguage.com) and that they also made a practice of taking spa days, among other things. “Why don’t you come to my birthday party next month?” Alicia asked. “It’s going to be right here at the spa. There will be some other women coming. It will be fun.” So I said “Yes, that sounds great!” Well, no shocker here, I forgot all about it. So imagine my surprise when I found a comment on my blog site from Alicia saying how they had been trying to contact me to remind me of her party!
This brings me to the first important lesson I learned: that when we meet people we often don’t consider the effect we have on them; that we mean something to them that we cannot even imagine. They were excited to meet a friendly stranger who was more similar to them than different. I lived a good distance away and had different life experiences, yet we all felt a common bond. Writing, yoga, exercise and recovery are just a few things we learned about each other at that first meeting.
Which leads me to the next concept. Alicia and her sister helped me see myself in a different light. What they remembered about me was that I was a writer — and they located me based on my pen name! While I think of myself as a woman, a mother and a lot of other things before being a writer, that was primarily how they saw me! At the party (for which Alicia pulled out all the stops, another enlightening experience), the ladies who attended all said “Oh, so this is Katy!” My goody bag (what fun things were inside there!) was labeled with “Katy Starr”. These ladies only knew me as Katy, the writer that their friends met on their last visit to the spa.
I was blown away by the freedom I felt at being somehow different than the me I am used to. It offered a new perspective on myself. And another new idea emerged: the life I have l lived does NOT need not be remotely similar to the one that lies in front of me, one day at a time. How I see myself, my perspective on life makes all the difference. And I wouldn’t have had these revelations without attending the birthday party.
Last, but certainly not least was the party itself. Alicia arranged a beautiful and delicious spread both for us, and for herself. It was another learning and growing experience to see a woman throw her own party — an excellent idea! I’m sure she had help (just look at the photos) but how inspiring to see a woman show that she values her life and her friends. How often have I hoped and wished that someone would throw a party for me, to show their recognition of me, of my life. Being a woman and mother are sometimes unappreciated roles; though our families do no doubt value us, it isn’t shown as often as we would like. In addition, we often care for others before allowing ourselves self-care.
I’m sure I’m not alone when I say what a wonderful time I had that day. Meeting like minded ladies, great conversation and food, facials in the sauna, conditioning our hair, and just having a relaxing girlie day…I couldn’t ask for more.
Thank you Alicia for being you! Also for showing me a new way of seeing myself! Though it was your birthday, I believe I am the one who got the best gift. Until our next spa day, I wish one and all