What is a birthday? It’s a celebration of your life… You are marking the amazing event of you coming into this world. That’s worth celebrating no matter how old you are. Many people believe that every person is a miracle. Birthdays are a nice way to celebrate this miracle. Somehow time seems to creep up on us so quickly and year after year we age gracefully, well,…at least I do. Is it just me or do we all tend to take birthdays pretty much for granted? When it is someone’s birthday we often celebrate with cake and ice cream or have a birthday party for them, with a cake and presents and sing everyone sings “Happy Birthday To You!” Do we really know when did the custom of celebrating one’s date of birth start to become important?
Birthdays are a public declaration of a new phase in your life. From childhood to adulthood, every time we reach one of the milestones, the expected behavior from that individual changes. With age comes new roles and norms. These changes include how to behave in public, how to dress, and how to talk. How many times have you heard someone say, “Isn’t she is too old to wear that?”
Truth be told, our birthdays are simply a validation of identity and existence. Directly or indirectly, we evaluate ourselves against our life plan. How many times have you said to yourself, “At this age I will be married” or “at this age I will be ready for retirement”. Birthdays make us think, who are we? and where am I in my life?
Did you know that many cultures associate specific birthdays with certain rites of passage? This is quite true. Hispanic girls look forward to their Quinceñeara, a sort of coming-out party, when they turn 15. Jewish children, of course, look forward to their Bar Mitzvah (for 12-year-old boys) or their Bat Mitzvah (for 13-year-old girls). This is, I understand, a huge event for the kids, requiring months of study, a public ceremony, and lots of gifts.
Ahhhh now your talking….lets discuss the gifts. What woman doesn’t like getting presents and surprises? Isn’t that enough of a reason to celebrate birthdays right there? Adults, I believe, like to celebrate birthdays because we look at our birthday as “our big day.” Dinner out, a small gift or two, a generally good day at work (maybe with a cake or other goodies provided by co-workers), and we’re pretty happy. As we get older (as I am rapidly doing!) it’s nice to acknowledge that we made another “trip around the sun” without anything major falling off!
As we grow older gracefully and gravity begins to set in, we remember that we are not as young as we used to be…but we sure do like to continue acting like don’t we? Sure we make mistakes, but I’ve learned from mine, and with age as my grandmother used to say comes wisdom. What am I doing for my birthday? I’m having dinner with my parents, someething that I’ve not had the opportunity to do in 28 year because I’ve been living out of state with my children.
Although this day (January 18) will be most special for me, my heart will be sad without my kids at my side. For me you see, this is the first year that I’ve not been around them on my special day to celebrate. They are living as young independent adults out of state. On this day as I grow older and more mature, I look at how I have grown from a single mother raising two children solo to becoming independent and a business owner. I still making mistakes, but I learn as I go that life isn’t about perfection, it’s about the values and morals that we learned at younger ages that followed us throughout the years and carried us through to this time in our life where we can look at our children, and reflect upon just how well we were raised and with such love.
When we are young we cannot wait until we get older, and when we grow old we find ourselves looking back at our past and wondering how time slipped by so quickly? I have been so blessed with wonderful friends and a loving family and I could not be happier. Does age matter? No. You are as young as you feel. Do I feel any older turning 48 than I did turning 30? Nope. Few more wrinkles, and a couple extra pounds, but today I am cancer free, sassy, spunky and at times a real ball of fire…I wake up each and everyday thankful that I am alive and breathing and able to enjoy the simple things in life. I still have my sense of humor…most all of my teeth and no gray hair. I’d say that has to count for something? Age doesn’t make me fearful, it make me realize every 365 days that the good Lord has kept me here another year for a reason and I intend to make the best of it.