I hesitated as I decided how it would be perceived if I made too much of a big deal about my birthday on Facebook. I wanted to change my cover photo to something festive but wondered if 35 was too old to do something like that.
I’m often mistaken for someone 10 years younger than I am and I sometimes wonder if it’s more than just my looks that makes people not realize I’m on the downhill slide to 40. After all, I was a fairly serious child and I can’t help but think that contributed to people often mistaking me for being much older than I was back then. So now that I try to have more fun and not be as serious, it makes sense that people might mistake that for immaturity.
The truth be told, I’m still pretty serious but I’ve learned that life is too short to be too serious. I think that having a childhood filled with so many doctors appointments, surgeries and just heavy health stuff taught me a valuable lesson about responsibility and that life shouldn’t be too trivial. But sometimes not being trivial translates into taking life too seriously and a few years ago, I decided I wanted my 30s to be different.
Another truth: deep down, I always kind of used 35-40 as the age I never thought I might make it to live to. No doctor said that the Spina Bifida would kill me and none of my four auto-immune disorders are terminal. I just always had this morbid sense that I would not survive this long, especially after gaining 200 pounds in my 20s and considering how accident prone I tend to be. I think losing half of that weight gain and just God’s blessings is why I’m still alive to sit here and write this today. (That, and I’ve tried to become a more careful driver).
Ready for more truth? I’ve always loved my birthday. That sentiment is considered normal for a kid, but something about our society says that adults should not notice their birthday, or even hate it. I’ve never understood why some people won’t admit their age or why they act like getting older is something to be ashamed is happening.
Yes, it means we are a year older. Why in the world is that not something to celebrate? Another year older means we’ve had another year on this earth to choose how we want to live it. Another year where death did not overcome us, where we had the ability to make a difference in the lives of others. Another birthday means we can look forward to the hope that we will have another birthday to celebrate the next year.
The idea of celebrating life seems even more necessary, more poignant given recent news events and what has gone on in the everyday lives of so many friends and family. In the last year, I’ve watched more than my normal number of friends bravely battle cancer. I’ve watched friends say good-bye to loved ones. But you know what? I’ve also seen friends and family graduate from college, welcome new babies, fall in love.
In my own life, I’ve battled the usual ailments, moved to a new home, adopted two more animals, watched my husband battle health problems, walked away from a job without a safety net to do something more healthy for me, and the list goes on and on.
Each of us has come so far and a birthday is the chance to the celebrate that and to look forward to what is to come. I hope I’m never too old to celebrate that.