It’s true I’m probably a control freak when it comes to my birthday (or possibly, everything). It’s true I get nervous every time someone gives me a gift. It’s true I worry – a lot – about where to put the gifts people give me.

I’m working on all that.

This probably goes way back to my great aunts Jean, Ruth and Amy, who sent me gifts I was at a loss to understand – like dolls.  It probably stems from my anxiety about how to send a thank-you note for a gift I couldn’t wrap my mind around. Like a doll.   It likely relates to my uncertainty about whether it was OK to immediately re-gift (a word that didn’t exist when I was a kid) – and give that doll to someone who actually likes dolls.

It may be that DOLLS are the sole source of my anxiety about birthday gifts – but dolls or not, one of the greatest birthday gifts I ever received was from my favorite aunt, Gloria (see favorite aunt here).  And it was NOT a doll.

It may have been that she was busy, or a little strapped for cash – being an actress – or it may have been pure and simple genius

I think it was genius.

It has now become the gift I always hope for, though I’ve rarely gotten it since. 

What she sent me was a list of all the things she would give me if she had unlimited resources.

That was it.  And it changed my life.  Or at least my experience of life.

I read that list over and over, and experienced what it would feel like to have what she wanted to give me. There was nothing to worry about. No anxiety about where to put it, how to display it, or why she sent it to me.

And amazingly, much on the list came true, though the only thing I remember on the list today is that it included unlimited photocopying ability.  This was back when I was trekking down to the corner photocopy store to print posters, flyers, copies of scripts and all of the music I wrote on a daily basis – rain, shine or snow  — so it was no small gift.

But what was REALLY on that list was possibility. That list opened up my sense of what was possible in my life, and the possibility that I might simply receive it instead of constantly struggling to achieve it.

So as my birthday comes around this year, I might just send my Aunt Gloria a piece of paper and a pen —  or maybe …  I’ll just sit down and write myself a list of everything I’m willing to receive, and then sit back and enjoy the beauty of all that possibility.


Got a birthday coming up?  Got friends with birthdays? I have a Birthday SONG for you – and it’s FREE.

Share the Sing-along YouTube Video of my birthday song “Congratulations, You Made it this Far!” with your friends & family on social media or via email – and Download the MP3 to carry along with you.  Then come sing it with me at my next show – check out my tour schedule here.