Wednesday, March 16, 2011

T is for Thirty-Five*

I know people who approach their birthdays with a sense of profound grief; they see birthdays as a marker of how much closer they are to death.

Cheerful, no?

I am not one of those people. There are a few reasons for that. First? I really do think that every moment you have -- even the craptastic ones where you're embroiled in your taxes or you're fighting with someone you love or you're completely miserable and at your lowest -- all of those moments are gifts. Every second you get to rock it on this earth is a precious, invaluable gift. Birthdays, then, are just a chance to appreciate all of the gifts you've been given, and to look forward to the ones you may yet receive.

I say "You may YET receive" because the second reason I am not a birthday grinch is this: not only are those moments gifts, but they are not guaranteed. For ANYONE. So rather than fret about the moment when the thread of my life has spun out, I prefer to enjoy the fact that for the moment, its length still appears to stretch forth before me.

Third -- the alternative to aging is to, erm, cease aging. I can only think of one way to pull that off, and usually there's a cemetary involved in that. So -- yeah. I don't mind getting older.

In fact, I LIKE it.

I should confess that I like it partially for vanity reasons, because thanks to a careful avoidance of damaging UV rays and blessed genes, I look younger than my age. So I kind of like the "NO WAY" I often hear when I tell people how old I am. Yes, I know that's really shallow. No, I do not care.

However. It's not all about vanity.

It's ALSO about valuing experience. When I think about where I've been in my years, and what I've seen and done, I am satisfied. I am satisfied with my successes, but I am also satisfied with my failures because I know that a lack of failure indicates a lack of chances taken. I'd rather have crashed and burned than never have tried to fly at all -- and the learning that comes with mistakes is so vital to whatever comes after. After all, everything you do is important -- it forms your character. It makes you who you are. You need to treasure the whole of it.

And on your birthday, you need to celebrate everything you are with people who you love rather than mourning the time you have lost -- because no time is ever lost. It's all written into the song that is your heart. Go ahead and sing it.

*It's not my birthday, obviously, but I have been thinking about this one for a bit. If it's YOUR birthday? Happy Birthday! Go eat cake!

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