Well today marks 44 trips around the sun. That’s 16,060 days for those wondering. I was greeted this morning with one child’s pure joy to finally hand over the pile (literally) of cards she’s been making me for the past week. This same child reminded me I’m not really old because only her teacher, who is 50, is old. In contrast another child never even said happy birthday and instead focused her energy on arguing with her sister that indeed, I actually am old. Thanks. That one has a few rungs to climb before she’s in the lead for favorite.
Anyway, I’ve spent half the morning crying because these days, I just find birthdays depressing. I hate what I see in the mirror. I feel aches that I never used to have. When I finally realized I was being ridiculous, I ended up crying more over knowing that too many others didn’t get the joys of aging. They were deprived of earning their wrinkles and their body aches. Life is a constant battle with perspective, I suppose.
I don’t have much to offer today – no profound reflections over the past year. No words of wisdom. Today I’m just going to “be.” But maybe that is my “old lady advice” after all. Some days we all just need to set life aside. Today, I’m not going to worry or follow my crazy brain down those lonely back roads. Instead, I’m going to reread this fabulous speech by Mary Schmich that my father sent me recently and ignore my ever-growing To Do list and messy house. Today I’m going to allow myself some grace. It’s okay to take breaks from being a parent or an employee or athlete or a friend or any other title that any of us might have. The constant barrage of these titles and responsibilities can be overwhelming, and if we let them, it can lead us to failure. So instead, use my birthday as your own excuse to breathe. Take a break from life. Give yourself some grace. All the stuff, both good and bad, will be there tomorrow. In the meantime, just be. And come five o’clock (who am I kidding, it’s about that time for me now) grab yourself a beverage and cheers to all those trips around the sun. Because “To be or not to be” is never a question. The answer is always To Be.