May 26 2012

Best. Birthday. Present. Ever.

The subject line of the email read:
I Feel Great About My Hands is costing me a fortune…
and inside, the sender — a woman I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting — continued:
…because I love it. Every time I read a piece, I think of someone else to send a copy to. Just now, I’ve realized I have to send one to my friend in Israel, and earlier this week I “amazoned” one out to another friend in Vancouver for her birthday. I received my copy for my 65th birthday last month at a dinner party for my women friends organized by my daughter at a local restaurant. The party favours were books “that her mother would like,” which she hunted down in second-hand stores all around Toronto: works by Germaine Greer, Maya Angelou, and of course a Harper’s Bazaar on fashion, and a Life magazine on women’s hats, dated March 31, 1947.
A physician psychotherapist, my new pen pal revealed that she’d been recommending I Feel Great About My Hands to patients, one of whom was apparently happily inspired by her reading experience to make a list of all her accomplishments since the age of 31.

I engaged in a similar exercise on my 50th birthday which, readers of the book may recall I spent driving to and from a funeral. Confronted by the fleeting nature of mortality, I made a list of all the things I’d done over the past 30 years that I was proud of having accomplished. And then I reminded myself that given the average life expectancy of Canadian women, I might well have another three decades in front of me to pursue similarly engaging challenges. I, too, found the exercise enormously encouraging.
But back to the email, which finished with the following:
So thank you, thank you, thank you. It’s brilliant.
Sharon Baltman M.D.

I was already having a fabulous birthday when I received Sharon’s email, but her unsolicited and unexpected gift of expressed appreciation put it over the top. (I bet she’s an excellent psychotherapist.)