It’s a running joke in the United States, at least in my neck of the woods that every year after a person turns 29 that they are just 29 again and again and again. It is especially prevalent among women. As if reaching 30 years old or *gasp* beyond is somehow a terrible thing. It implies that a woman then becomes old and ugly. That progressing in age, a completely natural and normal process, is bad. I am glad I am NOT 29.
I recently sat down next to a mom at one of my daughter’s activities and we got on the subject of birthdays. She commented that after her daughters, now 7, were born she stopped celebrating her birthday because now she is just old. What?!? She celebrates their birthdays but not her own. It seemed really strange to me that being ‘old’ was a reason not to celebrate a birthday or that others were more deserving of a birthday than her.
I don’t look at birthdays as a negative. Instead, I think of every single day that I have been given to live, to explore this world, to learn, to love, to be sad or to be happy. Every day that I wake up I get to see this tremendous creation and have the potential to impact someone else’s life. And, even better, others have the opportunity to impact my life. It is an amazing and awesome thing. Birthdays just mark a number to how long I have been blessed to live!
My birthday and my wedding anniversary are only two days apart. This year, my husband and I celebrated 15 years of being married. In my head, I calculated that we have about 55 more years together. It is my intention to live at least as long as my Grandmother and my Great, Great Aunt. If that is the case, at fifteen years we are just getting started. In this time we have already done so much, I can’t wait to see what amazing things we accomplish in the next 55 years. Wow! It is amazing and awesome!! (Ironically, he calculated that we have at least 85 more years together!! I guess we like each other!)
It is my birthday wish today that you look at your own birthday differently this year. Do not lament how old you are, that you have grey (or in my case sparkly fairy hair), do not look at what you have not done. What will any of those things accomplish? Consider the words of Edward J. Stieglitz who said, “And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” When you are worrying about that number that counts the years you have lived, are you thinking about the life in years you have already lived? Are you thinking about the tremendous blessing you have been to this world so far or how lucky you are to get to get up and do it again tomorrow?
I am not going to lie. Life is hard and there are plenty of days that I am frustrated, sad, worried or discouraged. But if I thought I was old, at 37, then I would have no room to improve on those difficulties. Luckily, if God is supporting me in the plan I have set for myself, then I still have at least 60 years to improve. I’ll take every birthday celebration to show His glory and give thanks for the years past and those to come. For all I have accomplished in 37 years, imagine what another 60 could bring? In my mind, I see at least 21,900 sunrises, 60,000 hugs, 120,000 smiles. 219,000,000 steps on this beautiful, blue-green marble.