Writing my blog has been fun especially when I see how certain topics connect with certain people. Each week I write about something that is on my mind and honestly there is a lot on my mind these days. Where to start?? Some topics resonate with readers. Some topics may not. To simplify things this week, I thought why not write about having a birthday which is always a time for reflection, brings up memories of the past and is something everyone can relate to. No matter our backgrounds, race, gender, income, marital status, religion, political views, etc. WE ALL HAVE A BIRTHDAY. Birthdays take on twists and turns of their own. Many come and go while others have more significance. Last year I turned 50 and there was so much thought, reflection, fear, gratitude and meaning on that day. I feel like I just wrote a blog on turning 50 and now here I am completing another year. The ride gets faster and faster.
I remember when I was a child and every year I would get so excited for my birthday. I would always wake up at the crack of dawn with butterflies in my stomach – so excited! Excited for my gifts, my birthday party or reaching some type of milestone and growing up. My memories are vivid. I couldn’t wait to get older. Milestones like double digits and becoming a teenager. The year I could get my learners permit, become a legal drinker, vote. So much excitement!
And then things change. I am no longer as thrilled to see the number moving upward. There are still significant milestones but not feeling the same type of excitement about turning 30 or 40 or 50. (I dare not even breathe the number “60”)
I remember when I had cancer and many cancer patients around me said they were frustrated with people who were upset about having a birthday. “We should all be celebrating and thankful each time we have a birthday,” said a member of a support group I was part of. I have always remembered her words and sentiment. Even so, as I moved farther out of treatment I would sometimes catch myself with the moments of fear of turning older and leaving some of my youth behind. On my birthday each year, I remember her words and always acknowledge my gratitude and dismiss the fear.
A big bowl of m+ms My dad’s famous sparkling and bubbling fruit punch A birthday party filled with friends and gifts. Lots of Barbie dolls as one hometown friend remembers. A school field trip to StoryLand that took place on my 10th birthday.
A simple “Sweet 16” dinner party with a group of girlfriends. My mother prepared the meal for us and she pulled out all the stops finishing the evening with chocolate fondue.
My parents (and now my Dad’s) annual birthday song and then telling the story of the day I was born complete with weather report. “It was a beautiful sunny day.”
The last time I had a conversation with my mother. It was my 39th birthday when she sang to me completely out of breath but didn’t stop until the song was over. She passed away 6 days later.
The special surprise lunch my husband planned, roses in hand for me after my conversation with my mother.
Wonderful dinners at my favorite restaurants with my husband and sons. Receiving cards, texts, and Facebook messages from long-time friends.
Just a few of those many birthday memories. Birthdays in my family have always been a big deal and I have carried forward the tradition. Each year marked by a celebration of sorts. A cake, some decorations, fun cards, wonderful meal. Spending time with special people.
And my tradition of including dog pictures in birthday cards. Yes, I am a bit nutty but I can’t help myself. We all have our own traditions and ways of looking at our birthday. What are your traditions and favorite memories about your birthday? Are you afraid of turning older or do you embrace it?
So, yes, another year older. Sometimes a bit of a love/hate relationship. But in the end it is all good and all about how we approach it. I try to remind myself of what I have been given. When we are younger it is maybe about cake and gifts and milestones that give us new privileges. As we grow older it is about what we already have. A reflection of our life and gratitude for the gift of life we have been given. And what we want to do next. Today I took my first yoga class in many, many years. It has been on my list. So why not start today?