By Gloria Dulan-Wilson

Well, it’s official! Today is my birthday! March 21, 2011 - yaaaaaay!!!

I started celebrating on Saturday, when my handsome son Rais, and his lady, Ruby, came up to take me out to brunch. I totally enjoyed the time we spent together.

Normally, I’m hanging out at one of my favorite clubs, starting the weekend off with a bang befitting an Aries - you know, we who are born on the 21st start the sign, and start the Zodiac calendar (after all Aries is the First Sign of the Zodiac) - and not stopping until at least the last day of Aries morphs into Taurus.

But this time I’m doing it a little differently. Notice I didn’t say I was slowing it down. But I am re-arranging my schedule in such a way as to be more “reflective” of what it means to be an Aries in this stage of my life.

I know that this is a milestone year for me - not telling you which milestone it is - although all my classmates, my kids, sibs, and my Mother know already - it’s still classified info, for the most part.

But then, every year is a milestone, in some sense. I certainly have learned a lot and seen a lot over the last year that has caused me to make a paradigm shift in terms of what it is I want to be, do, have for the balance of my time here.

I have definitely decided that I want to live happily ever after. And not just in the fairy tale sense of the word. Id really like to be a part of whatever it is that brings us from Lodebar to up top; from being Champions; from being victims to being victors. That would make me very happy indeed.

Black people, of which I am definitely one, have had more than their share of struggle. We tend to have to do double the work to get half the benefits. I certainly have been down that road several times before. And even though we use the phrase “work smarter, not harder”, the meaning and applicability often escapes us.

So I am dedicating myself to sharing whatever information I may have with as many of us as I possibly can, in terms of how we can do well while doing good for each other. However, that said, I am coming out of the "struggle" mode and mentality. I know that it’s something that has been our mantra since the Black Power days. But I am beginning to realize that the concept of struggle is what keeps us struggling. I am now going to focus on succeeding and surpassing. It's going to be hard, but I'm really going to work on it. I am tired of struggling, particularly when it generally leads to more struggle.

If I know something that is of benefit to us, I am going to share it. If you don’t take it and use it, it’s your problem. I am no longer going to try to drag you kicking and screaming to unity and solidarity. At some point you have to value wisdom when you hear it; and take definitive action.

I am going to do whatever it is I need to do to optimize my health, energy, vitality, intelligence, skills, wisdom, knowledge, understanding - and prosperity.

I am going to celebrate my friends and what they’re about, their accomplishments.

Above all, I’m going to celebrate my three fabulous kids: Kira, Rais and Adiya - who have survived my parenting and lived to tell about it.

I am especially going to celebrate my Mom, Ruby Love, who just turned 88 with all her faculties intact, and my Brother Silas Sylvester, who actually survived all my cooking experiments and is just as handsome as ever. I also celebrate my Brother Warner Jr. who still stands despite his long term illness.

I celebrate my new found friendship with my former mate, Lou Wilson - and the fact that we can still laugh and joke and communicate despite the craziness.

I celebrate all my friends here in Brooklyn, in Harlem, Upper Harlem (a/k/a Washington Heights), Africa, Haiti, Brazil, Japan (blessings to them).

I always believe that good people always find each other - and that’s why you who are reading this and I are friends and associates.

There are so many things that are on my plate to do, I just want to make sure that while I’m doing them, that I am getting as many blessings out of this adventure as possible; and that others are doing the same.

I have a tendency to smile a lot, and I know that to some people it’s kind of off putting. We in New York have developed this habit of wearing our “game face” a cross between a scowl and a “don’t mess with me, man” attitude. I used to do it, but found that doing so actually increases stress as well as frown lines.

Besides, I don’t want to be around someone who looks as though they would just as soon kill you as say a kind word. So, I smile - and it makes me feel happy - and others smile back. Smiling is definitely the best game fact - you know the old saying, "Keep smiling, makes everybody else wonder what you're up to."

The New York I came to when I first graduated from Lincoln U, people smiled and started conversations with you whether they knew you or not, regardless of your race, color or whatever. And that’s who I am now. And that’s who I plan to be for the next 4 decades I have remaining here.

So, by the time next weekend rolls around, I will be in full swing in the celebration of my birthday, working on Happily Ever After.

Those of you who want to contribute to making that goal a reality, I am totally open. I accept gifts, blessings, wishes, parties, toasts, of all kinds.

In the words of Israel Houghton’s song, “I’m Still Standing But by The Grace of God.” and that is truly something to celebrate and be thankful for - and indeed I am.

To all my fellow Arians - Happy Birthday - I know it’s going to be difficult, but please try not to set the whole world on fire.

Stay Blessed &
Gloria Dulan-Wilson

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