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Happy Birthday. Is It?


I just got off the phone with a new and already dear friend who reluctantly divulged with a definite change in the tone of her voice that her birthday is next week, and that she may take the day off to stay in bed with her head under the covers. This might have been an exaggeration, but I heard sadness and angst. In her voice I heard the voice of many who hold regret about a day that should be celebrated. Another one of mine is just around the corner, number 55 I dare say, so I have been giving it considerable thought.

The truth is, no one gets out alive! We all eventually decline, and no matter what we do, as far as we know, life and death are the things that we share in common with every other person walking the face of the earth. We all are born, we all age, and we all die. Period. Now, it seems that its what we do along the way is what matters. Why use our precious time trying to change the inevitable. Making this moment right here and right now something memorable is where we should place our focus if our true intention is to be happy.

I think our culture has been particularly cruel to women. Media and advertising has bombarded us with unrealistic expectations and myths about what our bodies are to do and look like to be appealing and accepted, even lovable. How sad that we are still dominated by that spell, rather than free to enjoy the process of change and accept that there is beauty and joy to be experiences with each milestone.

Don’t get me wrong. It would be wonderful to have a body that today had the energy and maneuverability that mine did in my 20’s and 30’s. I sure wish I didn’t ache and that I wasn’t as stiff when I get out of bed in the morning, but the degree of our joy is measured by where we choose to place our focus. Life is a journey and I savor the perspective I have now that I didn’t have when my body was agile. Through these eyes I now marvel at the smooth hands of my grandbabies when they are cradled in mine that now have all their wrinkles, veins and age spots. The mystery of life continues. Why miss the moment before me being transfixed by the past I cannot return to or change?

We are not meant to be today who we were a decade or two ago, or even yesterday. This moment right now has transitioned to another before I even finish this sentence. As far as I can tell, such is the nature of life. It unfolds. Each day and every new moment brings added experience and new opportunities that create the patina of wisdom. When I hang on too tight or resist the unknown, it comes anyway, and usually the road has more bumps. Like it or not, dragging my feet attached to what I think life should be or what it was then only causes me to miss out of the joy that comes with surrendering to and embr