Wednesday, November 4, 2009

10 Presents to Myself

Little Miss Can't Be Wrong. Nicki age 2.
by Nicki Salcedo

Today is my birthday!
I love birthdays. I want to thank my parents, and especially my mom for enduring not just my delivery at birth, but also my delivery from many of life’s trauma. Happy birthday to you, mom, and thanks for everything. Today is really a day I celebrate you!

I recent celebrated my sister's 40th birthday. We spent the weekend with her best girlfriends at Château Elan for nice food, wine, and spa fun. While the other ladies were getting their spa treatments, I wrote by a fireplace and enjoyed a rare block of time free of demands. I knew that what I needed more than a massage was time to write. It was a gift I gave myself.

A few years ago, I started a book I called “30 Presents to Myself”. It was a comedy and here is the synopsis: A woman on the eve of her 35 birthday finds the list of things she was supposed to have done before her 30 birthday. She hasn’t completed any of the things on the list, many thankfully so, but now she wants to give herself 30 presents. Each chapter is a funny contrast between what she thought she would need at 30 and what she realizes she really needs to be happy at 35. Even if it is five years too late!

Here’s is my confession. Today is my 35th birthday, and I never finished writing that book. Every once in a while I write a chapter or tweak the plot. I think I'll go back to working on it. As for today I will give myself 10 presents. Hopefully, you can share some of these presents with me, too.

Sweet 16. Same blingy smile, different birthday!

Ten Presents to Myself
10. NaNoWriMo. November is National Novel Writing Month. What a great birthmonth present. Even if you aren’t officially signed up take the time to write. Best present you can give yourself if you are a writer.

9. Don’t be ashamed of yourself. For this day forward, I would like to be able to proudly state my age AND weight for the rest of my life. I’m 35 years old and 160 lbs. I could still stand to lose another 20lb, but remember I’m doing it slowly. When I’m 70, I’m going to want to remember how much I enjoyed being 35 not how much I lamented it. I've also been heavier and lighter, and the last thing I want to worry about is my weight. On another planet, I'd only weigh a few pounds!

8. No gifts please. I don’t like birthday presents. Presents make me feel uncomfortable. So do greeting cards. Trees die, papers wasted. But I do like to know how my friends are doing on this day or any day. Tell me something good you’ve done for yourself and that will make my birthday a happy one.

7. I'm going to take a walk. I'm going to renew my energy in eating well and exercising.

6. I treated myself to a DuMore Improv Women’s Retreat workshop last month. I realized that my hesitation has to do with my fear of doing things wrong. I learned that the art of comedy (and creating) has to do with letting go, listening, and reacting positively to what you hear. Creating and comedy and improv are also about reacting in unexpected ways.

5. I sent out 7 query letters. Two agents have kindly declined. Two have requested the full manuscript. I’m waiting on the rest. My next birthday presents to myself will be sending out more queries and the final manuscript.

4. I wrote the last chapter of my book, but I am still writing (and re-writing) and still filled with self-doubt and hope. Self-doubt and hope are enemies, but they also work together to keep you from achieving your dreams.

Nicki at age 34.9 as Uhura. Sexy Geek!
3. Thirty days later and my life has calmed down enough to realized the great gift I received with my Maggie Award. Best. Birthday. Present. Ever.

2. Celebrate every birthday as though it is better than the one before. The American Cancer Society has a cool birthday campaign out right now. Do you know what some people would do for another birthday? Treasure yours. (On a side note, the third Thursday in November is the Great American Smokeout. Consider quitting smoking or encouraging a loved one to quit. You might help save their life or your own.)

1. Say a pray for someone else. I’m probably here today because of
other people's prayers. Mostly my mom and dad. Maybe family or friends. Maybe even the prayers of strangers. If you are the kind to pray or meditate, could you spare a moment from my dear friend Christina Crook and her husband Mercer Crook today? They need prayers more than I need birthday wishes today.

I hope you have a wonderful day and birthday and writing day! Happy NaNoWriMo. Get writing and enjoy it.


Christine said...

thank you for a lovely post--and yes, celebrate the day! And the life!!

raising a glass in good cheer to you!

Carol Burnside said...

Happy Birthday, Nicki. Thanks for mentioning Christina and Mercer.

As for me, I'm going to get a routine medical procedure done today to ensure I stay healthy. :)

Best of luck with your submissions. You're a terrific writer. I look forward to seeing your books on the store shelves one day soon.

Pam said...

Hey, Nicki! Great post!

Happy Birthday! I just turned 50, and, like you, when I turn 70 I want to remember how joyful I felt at 50. I don't want to spend the next ten years focused on a laundry list of self-criticism. As a matter of fact, my 50th birthday was a tremendous motivator for me to GET STARTED with my fiction writing. The gift I gave myself was ending a relationship that wasn't working for me; it meant breaking my engagement to a man I loved and saying goodbye to his children, all of whom were living with me. But it was the right thing to do and it gave me a renewed hope for the future.

Congratulations on your Maggie; keep on being kind to yourself and enjoying all the good things I know life has in store for you!

Nicki Salcedo said...

Good morning, my early bird friends. I've got 6 minutes til yoga!

Thanks for stopping by, Christine.

Carol, I believe in preventative care. Take you for doing something "routine". It is a great gift to yourself.

Pam, I can't wait for my 70th birthday. It will be the 35 anniversary of today! You gave yourself a difficult gift. We never give ourselves easy things do we? Thanks for stopping by.

Everyone, treat today like it is your birthday.

Nicki Salcedo said...

I just noticed that most of my blog points are bullet points or numbered lists. I love bullet points and numbered list! I guess another present to myself. Means you can write fewer words :)

Can my NaNoWriMo friends tell me their word counts? I'm writing long hand and think I'm up to 3,900?

Anonymous said...

Beautiful post from one of the most beautiful people I know. Thank you for continuing to inspire me to love myself as I am and to take care of myself - emotionally and physically. That's a pretty cool legacy Nicki. I love you! RHM

Sandra D. Coburn said...

Beautiful, Nicki.

I am spending the weekend with my fellow TARANs and RWA members at the TARA retreat this weekend. I dedicate that bit of me time to you.

NaNoWriMo words -- only 3613 -- but today is going to be a very good day.

Prayers up for Mercer and a bit of thanksgiving for you. Hope you have a lovely, happy birthday.

PJ said...

Happy Birthday, Nicki! Wishing you a day as beautiful and special as you are, dear heart.

I just turned 58 and my gift to myself was a new blogging adventure with three wonderful women - conceived at this year's M&M Conference! It's a big step out of my comfort zone and I'm loving it.

I'll be keeping your friends in my prayers.


Barbara Vey said...

Happy Birthday Nicki!

Sandy Elzie said...

Good morning Nicki,

Happy 35th! Very inspiring post...hits home to all of us. (I appreciated the part about only weighing a few pounds on another planet)

On my next birthday I will turn 60, but for me, it's only a number that indicates I've been around a few more years than some and less than me more life experiences than some, but less than my elders. (g)

Thanks for sharing your heart as we all need to be in touch with our reasons for getting up, going & giving each day. (BTW, our days are best if we "give" to others, as you so nicely encouraged in your post)

My NaNo numbers are somewhat higher than some of you, but then 'm retired and don't have the little kiddies to deal with, so my time is always available for the computer.

Have a beautiful day and smile since you understand the true meaning of life.


Cyrano said...

Happy Birthday Nicki!!
I loved you before this post, I love you even more now that I read it. You are an inspiration, a role model and a friend to everyone I know, and boy are we all lucky to have you in our lives.
My goal today is to come up with ten gifts to myself...and I'm sure that more than one of those gifts will include writing.
I also plan on saying a prayer for the Crook's. God Bless them and help them to overcome any obstacle they face.
Thank you for the lovely post. I needed it today.
Have a wonderful, productive, happy day,
Love to you,

Buffie said...

Happy Birthday to you, Nicki! Sounds like you are celebrating in a wonderful manner. And that book, it sounds fabulous -- finish it!!!

Nicki Salcedo said...

Ladies, thanks for stopping by. I'll comment more later and am off to work (boo!). Did yoga at 6am with what's-his-name and plan to wear a red dress!

Keep telling me what you are going to do for yourself today. :)

PJ said...

I'm heading out the door too, Nicki. It's my volunteer day at the hospital. People may think that's something I do for the hospital but, really, it's a special gift I give myself every week. That's what I'm doing for me today! :)

Maxine Davis said...

Happy Birthday Nicki,

I love your attitude about birthdays. So many people do not appreciate them. I love them, especailly considering the alternative.

For me today? I'm going to have my hair cut and 'done.' I decided I needed a pickmeup.

Stay happy - it's the best medicine.

Linsey Lanier said...

Beautiful post. What a lovely person you are, Nicki. "30 Presents to Myself" sounds like a great book. Finish it!

Age AND weight? You are a brave soul. But then you're younger and thinner than I am, LOL.

Gotta love those query letters. 7? You are an inspiration in many ways. Hope you have a wonderful day. Love the pictures.

And yes, let's think of the Crook family. Thanks for reminding us.

Oh, NaNo word count - 331. I'm not in full NaNo mode yet. And this is pure pantsing. Something I've never done.


Sutton Fox said...

Happy Birthday Nicki!

Thank you for the great post. You are such an inspiration.

The best thing I've given myself so far today, is to stop for a moment and read blogs to see what my friends are up to. I consider myself blessed to have a friend like you in my life. You never fail to make me smile.

Hope the rest of your day is wonderful.

Susan May said...

You go girl! Happy birthday! You might as well embrace them they come around every year. CiCi and her family are in my prayers. Thanks for reminded us what is truly improtant.

Carol Burnside said...

Nicki, I'm at 790 words for NaNo, but I'm in edit mode for that requested full. Can't think about another project until I get this one out the door. I think I've eliminated more words than I've added. LOL.

Sandy, you don't have to minimize your #'s for those of us who are slower. Proclaim those thousands proudly, girl!

Buffie said...

Nicki, you have another birthday present heading your way. You won the books from Kimberly Killion's blog with us at The Romance Dish. Congrats!

Darcy Crowder said...

Nicki, what an inspiration you are. I agree with an earlier comment, we are all so lucky to have you in our lives. I love the sound of your book, you really need to finish it and get it out there!

Today I've given myself the gift of a new Neo by AlphaSmart that just came and I'm going to break it in. :) I'm hoping it will help me get those numbers for NaNoWriMo moving forward.

We're praying daily for Cici and Mercer. We should all stop and take a moment to hug our loved ones and be thankful they are safe and well.

Gannon Carr said...

Nicki, what a beautiful post. You made me a good way. :)

I'm doing NaNo this year, and I will finish, dammit! I signed up a few years ago and never finished. But I'm almost at 7500 words as we speak. Some of it may be total dreck, but I'm writing. Oh, yeah!

A big gift to myself is creating The Romance Dish with 3 of the best women I know: PJ, Buffie and Andrea. We came up with the idea less than a month ago at M&M, and so far our launch week has exceeded all of our expectations!

I try to take care of me as much as I can. My stress level is pretty high--I think it's hereditary LOL--so I'm trying to get back in the exercise mode. I also go for regular massages and acupuncture. I realize if I don't care of me, I can't take care of my family. Or as my dh says, "If mom's not happy, nobody's happy."

Yay, on your birthday win of Kimberly's books! You're gonna love 'em!


Debbie Kaufman said...

Happy, happy! Nice gifts. Love the bullet points/lists!

Nicki Salcedo said...

RHM, you are the prettiest person I know. Pretty people need to remind themselves they are beautiful just like us ugly ducklings! Thank you for be a wonderful big sis. We are going to party this weekend!

Nicki Salcedo said...

Sandy, love your NaNo progress and so glad to know you. Have fun at the retreat!

PJ, is my new guilty pleasure!

Barbara! Thanks for stopping by.

Thank you all for your prayers.

Nicki Salcedo said...

Sandy, keep writing and keep pushing us. I'm going to try and keep up with you! But the true meaning of life...? Ha, I have no idea. :)

Tamara, I can't wait to read what your 10 gifts to yourself are. It is better than getting a gift from anyone else.

Buffie, I promise when I finish that book you and The Romantic Dish will be the first to read it.

Nicki Salcedo said...

PJ, of course you volunteer at a hospital. You are an angel of mercy. Glad that what you did for you helped someone else, too.

Maxine, when do we get to see pictures of your 'do? Hope it was fun.

Linsey, I'm not brave. I'm what the crass might call "ballsy". Now that you know be afraid. Great NaNo word count, too! Way better than 0 words. :) Keep it up.

Anna Steffl said...

Prayers and good wishes all around.

Lovely writing from a most lovely lady. Happy birthday. 35 is just a just-getting-started age.

Nicki Salcedo said...

Sutton, miss you. How are your racing books coming along? Hope your day was wonderful, too. Thanks for stopping by.

Susan, thanks. We'll keep praying.

Carol, 790. You are awesome. I've written 0 today and yesterday's was handwritten. Still every word counts. (Sandy is my hero, and she should flaunt her word count!)

Buffie! Thank you, thank you.

Darcy, I am a pariah. You are not lucky to know me. I'm lucky to know you! Hope your Neo keeps you on track.

Gannon, you wuss girl! You must cry for everything. I can no longer be your friend. Your NaNo word count is awesome. And you already know how much I love The Romance Dish. Stressing is so easy. Glad you are taking control of it. (Kimberly Killion's books are going to be my stress reliever this month!)

Nicki Salcedo said...

Debbie, thank you. You know how type A I am.

Anna, thank you, too. 35 is awesome. It is the new 15. I've been smiling like a school girl all day. Next year we'll celebrate the 20th anniversary of my 16th birthday. I'll bring the music, you bring the blond wig.

Farrah Rochon said...

Awesome ways to celebrate your birthday, Nicki. I'm so happy I hopped over to read this. I'm really inspired.

Emily Sewell said...

Sounds like you've had a good birthday celebration. Good for you. Great blog. Happy birthday, girl!

Nicki Salcedo said...

Farrah, it is so kind of you to stop by and great to know wonderful writers like you.

Emily, it was a good birthday. Burgers for lunch. Cake for dinner (monsters were pleased) and then dinner for dessert! We ate the cake first. Awesomeness.

Oh, and I did not wear a red dress today. I wore a blue dress and it was fabulous. Felt lovely all day!

Cinthia Hamer said...

Great post, Nicki! And happy 35th. Hope you enjoyed your day. You're already so wise at your age, can you just imagine how much more so you'll be when you're 50?

So, if I can't give you a present, I guess I'll just have to slyly slip that bottle of limoncello in your bag at the meeting. ;-)

Tami Brothers said...

Yay, Nicki! Happy Birthday and major congrats on getting those requests, sending them out and writing the end! You go girl.

Thanks a ton for mentioning Christina and Mercer. I know they will definitely appreciate the prayers.

Great list! And I would love to read that book. It sounds right up my alley.


Nicki Salcedo said...

Cinthia, limoncello is not a gift. It is medicine. Yeah, I can't wait for 50!

Tami, I appreciate the encouragement and all you do to keep us going on this blog.