Wait. What? Another Birthday? Yes. Another Birthday. Lucky Me.

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. birthday12-thp 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 DSC_0062 My dad’s famous sparkling and bubbling fruit punch   Purim-Party-Punch-640x479 A birthday party filled with friends and gifts. Lots of Barbie dolls as one hometown friend remembers. IMG_4710 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.

joshparty7 DCP_0504IMG_4709poppabday2 fall08 002 Even the dogs get in on it. They get a little party too. A gift and frozen treat (Frosty Paws). IMG_4635IMG_4631DCP_0811

And my tradition of including dog pictures in birthday cards. Yes, I am a bit nutty but I can’t help myself.FullSizeRender-7 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?

About Shari

I am a two-time cancer survivor and patient advocate. Diagnosed as a young adult, at age 25 with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, I had to quickly face the reality of life’s curveballs. My treatment offered a potential cure while at the same time, underestimated the long term side effects including a secondary cancer (breast cancer) nine years later. Shortly after my breast cancer treatment ended, my youthful, seemingly healthy mother was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer and passed a year later. I have lived the cancer experience as a patient and a family member/ caregiver and understand both sides. Life after treatment is often challenging emotionally and physically and there is a gap in providing needed support. I don’t consider cancer a gift as it is not something I would ever want to give to someone. Rather, I view cancer as an opportunity; one I received at an early point in my life to live intentionally, understanding how things can change at any moment. I live without regrets, fully understanding the gift and fragility of life.
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8 Responses to Wait. What? Another Birthday? Yes. Another Birthday. Lucky Me.

  1. hudsonww says:

    Dear Shari:

    I so enjoy your blogs, and this one was no exception. Just curious about one of the photographs. I made the clown costume being worn in the photo with Jennifer and am wondering who is wearing it. I thought it was Suzann until she pointed out that no way would she be taller than Jennifer!!! I had made it for Jonathan. My memory isn’t working . . . help!


    Date: Wed, 10 Jun 2015 00:49:57 +0000 To: jrschnitzer@hotmail.com


  2. Shari says:

    Thank you! The picture you are referring to is a b-day party for Jennifer. I was the magician and did magic tricks and Lori was the clown.


  3. Cindy Hart Schools says:

    Great Blog!!


  4. Paul Berman says:

    Wonderful memories and I am glad you still have the pictures! I almost forgot about the bubbly punch,but now that you are of drinking age we should make it a little stronger ! Thanks for the great blog,and looking forward to next year.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Shari says:

    Thank you. I agree on making the punch a little stronger!


  6. Robyn says:

    Happy belated, Shari! Love the post.


  7. Shari says:

    Thanks Robyn. Appreciate it!


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