Ritualize It

In May 2008 I summited Mount Hood.

In May 2009 I ran a marathon.

In May 2010 spent 10 days backpacking in the Himalayas.

See a pattern here?  In 2009 I realized it was the second year in a row that I was accomplishing a physical challenge in my birth month and decided to officially make a ritual of it.   Lucky for me we just happened to be backpacking in Annapurna area in May last year so it was a given.

This year, however, was a challenge to come up with my challenge.  I thought of a triathlon but the lake where I wanted to swim didn’t open until last week.  I really wanted to do a two day backpacking trip, which would be a first for me.  Yes, I did just say we did 10 days last year but we didn’t have to carry food or bedding because we hiked from hut to hut.  That plan got rained out.

I did accomplish some physical challenges last month and they ended up being mental hurdles as well.  In fact, they were more mentally challenging than physically but I’m still saying they count.  Hey, it’s my ritual to I get to make up the rules (as I go along :)).

The first was 7 days in a row of yoga.  In all my 13 years of practicing yoga I had never gone 7 days straight.  It was a challenge to roll my mat out on many days, a little piece of me resisted almost every time, but once I got going it felt awesome and by the end of the week I felt more centered and flexible.  I also did 30 Sun Salutations on my birthday-definitely a first!

The second was that20 mile bike ridearound Brooklyn and Manhattan I went on a few weeks ago.   Totally mental hurdle!  And the old school Schwinn bike I rode with the back peddle brakes was no easy task either!  In fact, I went on two 20 mile rides in May, a feat considering my average milage is 10-a week!

For me it seemed only appropriate that I celebrate my life with what makes me feel the most alive-MOVING!!!

Do you have any birthday rituals?


  1. Does cake count as a birthday ritual? ‘Cause that’s about all I’ve got. The last few years I’ve been studying for finals, so maybe in 2012 I can start a new, FUN birthday tradition, since I’ll be done school

  2. That’s amazing — I want a birthday ritual — that is a truly inspiring way to welcome & Celebrate aging. Mental barriers can be so much more challenging than physical ones — that is what trad climbing has been for me lately.
    Seven days in a row of yoga is impressive to me…& 20 miles on a back peddle break? The only thing that would’ve made that more challenging is a fixed gear; eek, no thanks. I love biking, so it makes me excited to see you enjoying longer rides.

  3. papa

    My birthday ritual, as faith well knows, is to drum around all the Farm’s gardens, then plant corn and beans. This year was the first total wash out in decades of practice. Once or twice I had to minimize due to wetness, and just put out a few seeds, rather then the few hundred feet that is usual. I did get to plant about two weeks late this year.
    As for cake, it definitely counts. This year I had a pre and a post BD chocolate cakes, and the second one was definitely better.

  4. Aunt Ellen

    Have taken a long run at a Rockefeller park nearby for the past 8 years. This year the weather was uncooperative but I did get to share my bday with YOU! Have taken a few runs since but haven’t gotten to that particular park yet. It’s a shame since they have a great peony garden which is always peaking on my bday.

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