Yesterday was my birthday, I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was a bit dubious about the idea of spending a good deal of it on a raft in the Hudson. The Tramps were shooting a commercial for SOC during a white water rafting trip. Ever game, I went along, biting back a bit of whining about the weather. Because, seriously, it was chilly. And wet.

I chatted up the guide as we waited for the bus. Yes, a bus. We go high glamour for birthdays ’round these parts.

We paddled, floated and then swam. The water, as it turns out, was perfect. I slipped out of the raft and into the river, my pfd tightly cinched and doing its job I bobbed about in the water. Every so often I’d turn and stroke into the current, sending water sluicing over my body and the delicious burn of exertion running through my legs.

At one point I joked that I felt like a navy seal as the charcoal sleeves of my shirt blended into the water. “Did you say navy seal?” the guide asked. “Did you know there is a navy seal approach to getting back in the raft? Wanna try?” I looked at him and asked how as the rest of the group watched. I imagined the number of ways a woman could embarrass herself by “putting your back to the raft and then lifting yourself in a backward somersault up and into the raft.”

They waited. I hemmed and hawed. And then I thought, “What the hell?”

I may not get high marks for grace, but it was the most fun I can remember having in a long time. Empowering, invigorating and unforgettable.

I couldn’t have asked for anything more than the chance to feel strong, alive and loved.

Thanks, you know who you are!