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Birthdays

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Birthdays are funny things. Yesterday, it was my birthday, which passed completely unnoticed by those I share an office with two days a week and this contrasted with the many lovely messages I received on Facebook from friends and family near and far. Gotta love FB for reminding us of these things…

 

Anyway, the best part of my day was entering the kitchen after a long day and commute home to see my grubby two year old naked as the day he was born, positioned on the hip of my hubby, singing happy birthday to me. The candles on my car-shaped cake (“Look, car mummy!”) sparkled in anticipation of a good blowing-out-moment. J and I blew them out together – not once, but four times in the end – so much does my boy love extinguishing “hot candles mummy”, with his joyful breath. Pure birthday magic.

 

Do you ever find that on some birthdays, you’re feeling rather excited about observing the date of your arrival into this world, and then other times, the date just seems less important to commemorate somehow? I suspect that has a lot to do with age. As a child, the differences we experience in ourselves over a 12 month period are indeed to be celebrated. So much changes in even six months. A baby becomes a toddler, who becomes a child, who turns into an adolescent and eventually – though the transition is not always a smooth one – we reach so-called adulthood. And we can all appreciate that adulthood doesn’t necessarily mean maturity. Then something seems to happen in your thirties. There comes a birthday when you actually have to think about how old you’re going to be. It’s a fleeting thing of course, but rather funny all the same when it happens – the first time…

 

Then you realise that you are going to hit 40 or 50 even. I bet most of you thought over 40 years of age was downright old when you were ten. Those of us who have reached that age and beyond will know that one is certainly not old at 40 (though our bodies may beg to differ at times). It seems that when you are over this so-called ‘mid-life point’, you start to become rather more philosophical about age. “You’re as old as you feel!”, is oftentimes declared with alacrity as people pat you on the back and hand over a card, which usually makes some reference to age, life beginning and the passing of time…yeah, thanks.

 

“And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years.” Abraham Lincoln

 

I do rather like to celebrate the punctuation marks of life. Frequently it seems we can be focused on our complaining about life, so it is rather nice to pause, take stock even and mark the passage of time.

 

Perhaps we can use it to ask ourselves some questions:

* What do I know now that I didn’t a year ago?

* What do I want for myself by this time next birthday?

* What can I learn from my failures and my successes?

* Where am I right now, and where do I want to be?

* How old would I really be if I didn’t know how old I was?

 

If you’re feeling particularly goal-motivated, create some clear outcomes for yourself – do-able objectives to work towards over the next twelve months.

 

For myself, I would like creativity and well-being to be the themes for my coming year. The lovely gifts I received of a massage, sketch pad, pens and brushes are all going to contribute to those for sure. And I really must stay off those damn biscuits…Indeed, my office colleagues made up for their forgetfulness yesterday and today they bought me chocolate cake. Not so good for the waste-line but a nice gesture all the same.

 

So in the end, are birthdays a good thing? Well, if nothing else, they provide us with an opportunity to reflect, enjoy the acknowledgement from others and appreciate that we are lucky enough to be here.

 

“Fly free and happy beyond birthdays and across forever, and we'll meet now and then when we wish, in the midst of the one celebration that never can end.” Richard Bach