Next Monday is my 49th birthday. My husband asked me what I wanted. I told him, “I don’t want anything. I just want to have dinner with you or something.”

I didn’t really have the emotional energy to think about what I wanted. It’s been a stressful few weeks with lots of worries on top of my normal worries. Sometimes, I worry that I think too much. I think about cancer every day. I think about my husband and daughter every day. I think about the obligations I have to my family, my friends, my job, and to myself. When I am really stressed, as I am at this moment, I worry that I am burdening my friends and family by asking for support, even the support of knowing what I am going through so I don’t have to do it by myself. I am worrying about this right now by sharing this with you. But I also know that when I feel most alone and burdened is the time I need to call on my resources and this means friends.

My friend, Nancy, sent me an email with a parenting resource. Actually, the email was to a bunch of people. Nancy is a dear and she always prefaces any email with, “I hope you are well.” I replied just to her. “I am hanging in there. Things are not going well but I hope you and your family are well.”

I’d never done that before. I got a phone call from her within the hour. I felt a great deal better after we talked. I am very lucky to have such wonderful support in my life.

I’ve been wishing very much to go on a vacation. Then I realize that I’ve just had two vacations, which were wonderful. What I really want is to be away from the stress of the current complications of my life.

Yesterday, I thought to myself, “For my birthday, I want a simple life.”

Immediately, I reflected that this was a fantasy. There are people who have simpler lives than mine, but their lives are complicated. More importantly, I can’t be anyone else, anyway. My life is complicated.

I also started thinking about the fact that I am ending another decade of my life, my forties. I thought, “Wow, a lot has gone on during my 40’s.” But then I started thinking about all of the other decades in my life. Just thinking about all of the changes that occurred for me just as a natural part of growing up during the first two decades made my head spin. A lot happens between the time we are born and the time we hit 20 years old. Holy Cow!

But I still want a vacation and I want a simple life.

And then it dawned on me. Although I am working on Monday, my birthday, I will not go into the office for the rest of the week. I host Thanksgiving every year and to do so, I need cooking time. So I’ve made a habit of only seeing patients on the Monday of Thanksgiving week.

My job after Monday will be to cook and spend time with my family. My husband is taking off the entire week.

I think I will get my birthday wish for a few days and this makes me very happy.