A Birthday Renewal

The older some of us get, the more our birthdays remind us of our mortality. And time seems to pass so much more quickly as we age, so the hits just keep on coming. Today I’m another year older but at least I’m not deeper in debt.

But, unlike other years, when that mortality sledgehammer has hit me right as (lucky me) I’m exhausted from being at the tail end of the holidays, this year I’m actually feeling really grateful. As I speed toward what is quite likely the last quarter of my life, I’m viewing every birthday as a precious gift. Approaching one more of these anniversaries is something to be savored.

There are many reasons for this mindset, not the least of which is that I feel, more and more, that I have something to live for and lots to look forward to. Moving to the right place and marrying the right person really helps in that regard. Also, my hard work and personal growth is paying off. (So if you’re young and frustrated, please do not give up. You can do this.)

Because I feel that way, I’m exercising regularly for the first time in my life. And I’m actually enjoying it. That is unexpected. But since I have so much to look forward to, I want to experience it in the most fighting fit form that I possibly can. I still have mountains that I want to climb. (Well, hills, probably. I mean, let’s be realistic.)

Another thing that has made me stop and reassess is that I recently realized that I’ve already lived longer than my oldest sister had a chance to do. Even at the time, I knew that 54 was way too young to die, but now that I’ve blown past that, I really, really know it. I’m relatively young. I have a lot that I still want to do. It’s horrific to think that it all could end so soon. I’d feel cheated.

But who knows? Maybe I will always feel that way, when the time comes. I lack that perspective still. (If I continue to blog into my 80’s, I’ll be sure to let you know.)

I’ve also learned the priceless lesson that life is very fragile and can be taken away with no notice, so every single day should be viewed as a gift. What will you do with your gift today? Being surrounded by a raging pandemic has only reinforced that mindset for me. I am so grateful for every day.

So I think that from now on, rather than viewing birthdays as one more year closer to the end, I’ll think of them as an extension of my expiration date. They are a renewal of the contract of life, as it were. Yay! Three cheers for another year! Woo hoo!

I can’t wait to find out what’s inside!

An attitude of gratitude is what you need to get along. Read my book! http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5

Some Anniversaries Aren’t Worth Observing

I was told recently that an ex had written a Facebook post commemorating the 10th anniversary of our breakup. Apparently the post was quite dramatic (“Like his own personal opera playing to a packed house.”) and predictably uncomplimentary to me, quite overlooking the fact that he had let his boss, Andy Johnson, steal $3500 from me, and yet he continued to work for him. I mean, talk about not having your partner’s back.

Everyone sees their own version of history, I suppose. For me, that “fateful” anniversary came and went without me even realizing it. I don’t have it written on any calendar. It was before I was on Facebook, so I can’t even look back to see what I was posting at the time.

I’m not one to “celebrate” bad anniversaries. I don’t really get the point. “Twelve years ago today, I had my tonsils taken out with a rusty spoon!” That’s not my idea of a memory that’s worth the annual brain space. Any cake you would order for that event would have to be highly customized. And who wants to attend that pity party in the first place?

I also know someone who looks upon a certain date each year with dread because bad things always happen to him on that day. Um, can you say “self-fulfilling prophecy”? He gives the calendar, a purely human construct, entirely too much power over his life. And, dare I say it, he seems to think his life is a lot more significant than any of our lives are, from the perspective of the universe at large. If there really is some sort of fickle finger of fate, I suspect it has bigger fish to fry than keeping track of a bad luck anniversary for any particular individual.

You can’t happily move forward in your life if you’re constantly looking backward. If you’re focused on dredging up the past, you clearly aren’t happy with your present. Either way, it makes me sad for my ex. I hope someday he can move on. I hate the thought that he’s trapped back there in 2010, even though I have to admit that 2020 isn’t the best time to be living in for any of us.

If we were still talking, I’d urge him to set himself free of me. It’s clearly bogging him down, and I hate that for him. I mean, there were some happy memories there. If he can’t let go entirely, he’d be better off focusing on those things instead of the bad bits.

But really, he shouldn’t waste his time on me. I genuinely hope he has better things to do. Focus on goals, not on perceived failures. My advice would be to concentrate on the present, and the happy memories he can create with the loved ones he has in his life right now. Because it’s all so precious and fleeting. Life is a fragile as a soap bubble.

I’m grateful for all the past experiences that have shaped me, the good, the bad, and the ugly, but I try not to dwell on them. That’s one of the few good things about my brain getting foggier with age. If you have to write a memory down to remember it, maybe you should only write down the good stuff. Give yourself a sort of get out of jail free card. Don’t actively force unhappy memories upon yourself.

There’s too much going on in the here and now, and too many plans to make for the future, to waste time on the past. With each passing year, I become increasingly aware of how little time I have left. I want to savor the moment I’m in. I want to celebrate the triumphs, not the tragedies.

Yeah, I’m not perfect at taking this advice. I have good days and bad days. There’s bitter along with sweet. But I think I’m much better at it now than I was in times when I was surrounded by negativity.

Life is so amazingly good right now, pandemic notwithstanding. I think I’ll keep it.

happy earth spill

An attitude of gratitude is what you need to get along. Read my book! http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5