Today is my birthday. My dear friend, Renee Bates, kind of got the jump on me the other day because it was also her birthday. Nevertheless I want to honor myself by sharing some of my own reflections. As a wife, mother and big sister, it’s not often I get to nab some of the limelight so I will milk this opportunity today.
These last few years have challenged me like no other. Uprooting my settled, predictable life back home in Los Angeles was pretty tough. I’m not going to lie. It’s been hard to dig some new roots, let my brain create new pathways, open my heart to new possibilities. Many people leave home at the start of their adult lives, but for me, this separation came much later and I confess I have been fighting a battle with my head and heart.
But I believe this year I turned a corner. I’ve begun to rely on new friends and my local “family of choice.” I still call my best friends and my sister for support, but I’ve started allowing myself to reach out to and trust my new connections too. After all, when I’m having my morning coffee and starting my day, the sun hasn’t even come up in La La Land and I dare not call folks there! So I’ll pick up the phone and chat up my Nashville friends to help get myself moving.
Holidays have been some of the toughest times. Timeworn traditions add to the richness and meaning of key celebrations and observances. Our home was always “that” house where folks gathered. I’ve continued the practice here, but at times the absences at our table are a bittersweet reminder of what we left behind. Still, in spite of myself, new memories are being made and new traditions are taking hold.
One of the hardest things to adjust to has been the weather. Most people who know me know summer is my favorite time of year. And lucky me, in Los Angeles it is always summer! The sun is out most of the time, save for the odd foggy mornings in June, it rarely rains and the air is balmy and breezy. It’s pretty hard to imagine anything better. So to adapt to the changing weather I have created a more seasonal wardrobe; accumulated sweaters, boots, coats, scarves and gloves. I’ve even braved driving the icy roads and the torrential downpours. I still do not like the weather here, but I’m learning how to live with it. Baby steps, after all.
So what are the lessons here? Well I have learned I’m stronger than I thought. I can ask for help and not feel ashamed. I can ask for what I want. It feels good to embrace change. It’s important to take care of myself. It’s fun to make new friends. I still cherish my old friends. Weather is an opportunity to go shopping. Home and family are what you chose to make of them. And, no matter where I live, I am still Me! Here’s to another year older and, hopefully, wiser.
Barbara Dab is a journalist, broadcast radio personality, producer and award-winning public relations consultant. She currently hosts two radio shows locally in Nashville, TN. Check out her website at http://www.zoneabouttown.com.
Barbara is also creator of The Peretz Project: Stories from the Shoah: Next Generation. Check it out at http://www.theperetzproject.com If you, or someone you know, is the child of survivors of the Shoah, The Holocaust, and would like to tell your story please leave a comment and Barbara will contact you.