03 July, 2011


Hey. Reader... wanna know a secret?
[she whispers] I've never been "okay" with birthdays. Never. Not since I was the tiniest littlest creature. A pretty infamous story in my family is, in fact, about my fourth birthday.

See, I really thought three had been great. Just great. It was real swell and I had juuuuust gotten used to it, and, I'm gonna put it out there, I've never had an easy time with the concept of change and well-- birthdays are the ultimate change! As my family rounded the corner, cake in hand, pitch chosen to start singing Happy Birthday, I scream, desperate, tortured:


"Well, okay..." said my mother, and everyone froze and she placed the cake on the table and we all just sort of stood there to take stock. 

Birthday #1
It was as if somehow the singing of the song DID it. It was the turning of the page. Three was all over. Something about the actual singing of the song heralded in the coming year and I was just not having it.


... I have learned from this. I have learned that referring to myself as "almost 28" is a good little "training wheels" tactic. (I have in fact done this since I was nine. No kidding.) I am aware that this is slightly over the top but whatever. we don't want an adult version of the "Don't Sing The Song" scenario to ever happen, especially in public so I'm willing to cope with the "almost [insert age here]" tactic.

The reason I bring this up is because this year I do not seem to feel this way. This year I'm happy for you to sing the song. Sing away!

#3 with Anna Maria Alberghetti
27 has been a sensitive year, one of introspection - a time to read, write, heal, work on my Self, to attempt be receptive to greater guidance, and to spend a great deal of time alone. It was filled with crushing doubt, and often there was great temptation to "quit"-- but I refused. I fought and clawed and grew into new direction and ways of being, and in the end the year was full of victory and long sought after peace, balance and equilibrium.In many ways, 27 felt like it paved the way for the next cycle of my life.

In fact, have you ever heard of this Seven Year Cycle business? It is seriously interesting stuff. Well, here I am about to begin the very final year of my current Seven Year Cycle and I can actually feel it, just like I felt it the last time (when I turned 21), in fact.

Looking back...

[*cue: back in time music...*]

On my 18th I was flown by my best friends Dane and Justin home from Interlochen to Detroit to visit my family. They played Judy Collins in the car.

on 19 - I was working at Interlochen again and the entire cast of Hello Dolly that I was working for did a whole full-on interpretive dance for me, and I got to have the "pudding" section from Matchmaker inserted into the play. I still have those birthday cards, I loved that group of people dearly.

at 20 - I was in Glasgow having just moved from Murano Street to my flat in The Gorbals with Kirsten Smith, and preparing for my Great European Adventure with Lilly (the one in which, on Lilly's 20th only a few weeks later, we would be doused with sleeping gas and robbed on the night train in-between Venice and Nice...).

#21: spent onstage in 12th Night
21 - I was onstage-- having just finished Pericles, about to begin  Twelfth Night at The Arches in Glasgow and director Ros Steen baked me a serious fudge cake. I was happy to spend it onstage, and happy to have it played down.

22 - I was in London and the cast of The Woman in White sang, and I picked up my phone to realize everyone in Scotland called and sang to me too. It felt wonderful. It felt a great deal like this year, actually-- on the brink of my West End debut, transitioning from one life into another. Magic.

23 - was the infamous "I hate surprises" surprise party during The Great Depression of '06. 

and, totally fascinating birthday-blog reflections from the past...

"This has been a strange year. Being 24. Twenty Four. The same number of hours in a day. This has been the first year I have experienced the sensation of AGE and time passing by. ...I suppose I am simply mourning the loss of childhood for good. (And I guess I'm also a little peeved because mine was cut so short by the Dad incident, and one never gets it back...) It's just a long spread of adulthood ahead, filled with unknowns, anti-wrinkle creams and possibilities... I haven't come to terms with any of it..."

"... whatever your ideology, whatever your age, whether you know the shape of a rock or the structure of a universe, the meaning of existence or the specific purpose of an individual life; the axioms remain the same: that it exists and that you know it. Whatever his future, at the dawn of his life, Man seeks a noble vision of his nature and of life's potential. And so do I. Here's to another year."

"Oooooooo! Fantastic. It was the best. The best birthday of my adult life. There was a treasure hunt. And magical coffee. And mexican food. And home-made cupcakes. And many many loving friends."

"27 is a magic number. ... When I started this blog (five years ago, yikes!) I was a slip of a thing. 21-year-old girl really, a student shoehorned into leading lady-dom-- and starting a new life in The Big Smoke and here I am today; Al Silber, citizen of the world. What a five years it has been. What a twenty-seven years it has been..."

So. here it is. 28. Twenty Eight. You know? This year? I'm okay with you singing the song... After all,

Twenty-eight is the sum of the totient function for the first nine integers.

Twenty-eight is a harmonic divisor number, a happy number, a triangular number, a hexagonal number,and a centered nonagonal number.

The average 'female cycle' is 28 days although no link has been established with the night-lighting and the Moon. (And for this moon-maiden, this must have significance!)

In Gematriya (the system of Hebrew Numerology), the number 28 corresponds to the word koakh, meaning "power", "energy".

The number of days in the shortest month of the Gregorian calendar, February (except in leap years, when there are twenty-nine-- incidentally Sophie DePalma's birthday is February 29th...). All twelve months of the Gregorian calendar have at least 28 days, regardless of the year.

The number of dominoes in standard domino sets.

Deriving from the 29.46 year period of Saturn's revolution around the Sun, the 28-year cycle as well as its subdivisions by 14 and 7 are supposed in Astrology to mark significant turning points or sections in the course of a persons development in life. (Thus, the number 28 has special significance in the culture of religious sects such as the Kadiri and the Mevlevi dervishes)

In Major League Baseball, 28 is the lowest uniform number that has not been retired by any club.

And, above all, 28 is the beginning of the final year in a Seven Year Cycle!


My own cycle of 21 to 28, has felt largely like a process of enlargement, of refinement. It was, I suppose, the period of life when I mentally and emotionally entered into true adulthood.  The start of  the foundations of a career, of intimate relationships, of outlooks and personal philosophies. We all deal with more and greater challenges during this time, we move outwards/forwards/upwards with a driving energy that we hope will gain us entry and respect in the larger world.

I know as far as my own life is concerned, I have developed a greater sense of discrimination; my faculties of insight, intuition, judgement and understanding have come to the fore (something I actually think you can see quite clearly in the contributions to this site, don't you think?) I am better at recognizing the needs of those I care for, yet not denying my own (Independence and connection can appear together instead of opposite ends of a spectrum, who knew?!) The sparks of interest that were awakened in my adolescence have been identified and further defined. And my personality has softened, definitely broadened, and yet my discernment has become sharper and keener. I tolerate less for the sake of approval. I am kinder to those who are different than I.

So, here is to long sought after peace. To growing up, and older. To ever present, ever ticking Time-- who reminds us that life is finite, ephemeral, and fleeting, yet that knowledge is what charges each moment with deeper, richer, fuller, meaning.

To time: and all the wisdom and gifts it brings us.

Now, [*she reaches for her pitch pipe*] who will be first to sing the song?

28: and as happy in my metaphoric skin and I am in that dress. Finally, that smile feels like the real thing...


    1. AnonymousJuly 14, 2011

      really enjoy this blog - i have a birthday coming up too that i'm dreading!

    2. Happy birthday to you!
      Happy birthday to you!
      Happy birthday lovely lady alexandra <3
      Happy birthday to you!

      This blog is truly an inspiration to me.. I just turned 24 on the 23rd of June and was stuck wonder what have I learned, where do I go from here, and most importantly, WHO AM I?
      Im still trying to answer all this but at least I know this, I AM Kayla and I was the first to sing the song :]

    3. Alexandra-

      This is an amazing post. Your blog is a constant source of inspiration, and for me it always reminds of change and the idea that rocky roads don't last forever. Your list of your adult birthdays indicates how much can change in 1 year.

      I just turned 21, so I'm exactly one cycle behind. I definitely feel like I'm about to search for the definition of my ideas/interests... I've always wanted to be more "adult," but I never realized, until more recently, how much action that takes!

      Happy Birthday to you!

    4. My love,

      I am so proud of everything you've accomplished this year. I remember sitting in this house with you, and everything you were going through on Birthday 27. Look at all the amazing things that you have brought about just one short year later!

      I'm so grateful to have you in my life, and to be an important part of yours.

      With SO much love...

      Happy Birthday.

    5. AnonymousJuly 15, 2011

      Happy Birthday! You still have each of your younger selves within you, and experience will draw various selves out...your five year-old-self will keep your sense of wonderment and expectation alive and your fourteen year-old-self will put you in touch with the vulnerability from which compassion forms, etc, etc., etc. I saw you on 'Law and Order Criminal Intent' and knew you possessed a special sensitivity and authenticity that brings character to 'the' character.

    6. You. Are. Amazing.



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