Birthdays are Good for You!

BIRTHDAYS are good for you. Statistics show that people who have the most live the longest!

I’ve moved up into the category of people who have had lots and lots of birthdays. This year I may also be setting a record for the number of celebrations of a single birthday occasion.

sammie and mejpegI wasn’t home for my birthday, which used to happen a lot when I was a teacher and off for the summer. I’d likely be at a workshop or training in the middle of July, often in California with my mentor, Anna Halprin. She’s 19 years older than I, and her birthday falls one day before mine. So each year as the community of dancers and musicians celebrated her, I’d wish for that to happen for me someday, and that I might be half as beautiful and energetic as she was in those years.

I guess I’ve caught up to her, at least to the age she was when I knew her best, and this year especially, I felt grateful for her modeling of a vibrant agelessness through the years. I used to try and celebrate my birthdays as we did hers, honoring her with dance, music and story. I’d even tell my friends in Texas that what I wanted most for my birthday was to do InterPlay with them. And many of them would oblige. But then, I wouldn’t hear from them for another year when I was say again, I’d like to do InterPlay. And they would oblige again.

 virtual necklaceBut that’s what happened this year. My students in Atlanta were enthusiastic to made a performance party for me, to honor and celebrate me, like Anna’s parties did for her. InterPlay founders, Phil Porter and Cynthia Winton-Henry came via skype gifting me a virtual necklace.

 Jennifer Denning, the Atlanta InterPlay leader arranged for me to teach InterPlay at the Darnell Senior Center for a theater club who write stories from their lives, put them together in plays and perform them for others. Their director mentioned their next production was likely to be a musical, so my former students and I had great fun sharing with them some of the singing and dancing forms of Interplay. The theme was “Elders Know,” and from what we all came up with, elders know a lot. I danced joyfully with one woman whose 80th birthday was coming up the week after mine. We both said we were celebrating, not just that we’d gotten to these advanced ages, but that most of our parts were still working, and we could still dance and move about. performance partyjpeg

 After I arrived home to Pittsburgh, some members of my troupe came by with sweets and bubbly to help me celebration again. And through it all, I received flowers and e-cards and many wonderful good wishes though Facebook. Though I sometimes fuss about Facebook, the reminders they send us when friend’s birthdays are approaching, insure we all get to give and receive many, many birthday blessings.

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