A New year begins today.
New goals. New perspectives. New opportunities to love, laugh, play, and breathe life in.
I’m talking about another birthday to celebrate, specifically mine.
Humor me. I can do that since I’m the birthday girl today, right ? 😛
Birthdays get me a bit reflective some years. Not in a weird “OMG I’m getting OLD!!” way. I’ve never really had “issues” with hitting any certain age… I’m just happy to still be invited to the party, know what I mean?
Chronologically, I know what the calendar says and it technically puts me somewhere between “getting old but not as old as dirt” status. That chronological thing is set in stone for all of us.
However, how I live my life and the things I do with myself determine how young I feel and to a great extent, how I age.
My reflections on the past year have made me smile and tear up almost all at once.
In this last year I welcomed a beautiful new granddaughter into my life, and lost my dad to a battle with Alzheimers a few months later. Only two months after that I walked the path of grief with my daughter in law through the loss of her father.
In between those months of loss, my oldest son announced he would be getting married later this year.
There have been many “up’s and down’s” that also go along in a families life and a married life.
There have been those “normal” kinda days that you realllllyyy cherish and appreciate on days that are hard. And there were days that were very, very hard.
Life and death. Joy and tears. The past and the future. New goals and plans. Hope and anticipation. Excitement and disappointments.
And suffering. If I’m writing an honest reflection to you today, I will say there has been a lot of that in this year too.
Birthdays remind me that I’ve been privileged to experience it all…. the good, bad and everything in between. They aren’t a guarantee or a given to any of us.
This is my fourth one without my Mom and it still makes my heart ache to not have her with me for it, or have her make my cake ( although my daughter does a great job making me one 🙂 or receive the beautiful cards she used to give me.
I’ve embraced every new year I’m given. I don’t think about age as I find it irrelevant to whatever I want to do nor do I give much thought to it.
I have a fun group of young friends. They don’t see my age either. They like me, think I’m “cool” and give me a hard time about my athletic shenanigans ( as in, they tell me I’m crazy 😛 )
I find them refreshing and their enthusiasm and sometimes out right craziness makes me laugh.
We learn from each other.
They talk about their struggles and dreams, or family or whatever is on their mind. I’m old enough to offer life wisdom to which they sometimes ask for. Sometimes, we just talk about deeper things like… music. 😛
I have friends my own age because it’s only those who’ve walked similar paths with you who can truly relate to some of the struggles you may be currently in or offer advice that only a “older” person might offer.
I’ve found though that age is a number and that there is great maturity in many of my young friends, just as I’ve found great immaturity in people older than me.
Like a kaleidoscope it shows me different colors of life… beliefs, thoughts, opinions, and personal view points.
I believe you are richly blessed when you have a wide circle of people who care about you and who add a fullness to your life.
On the topic of learning…
I’ve made it a point over these past years to learn about the people who interact in my life.
The checker at the store, the baristas who happily serve me coffee, a random customer I engage in conversation ( ahhh maybe more than “a” person hahaha)
Why? People matter and my life seems richer when I do. Because I often walk away with a new perspective being around people from my “usual” circle. Different thoughts and views can be a good catalyst to make me really think about what I believe and why.
I’ve learned to freely give away a smile to a person I walk past, I have no problem dishing a compliment to a woman I think looks pretty or has something on I think looks like the bomb. I’ve had it done to me and I know what an unexpected “gift” it is to receive.
On social media I comment on something they’re doing, especially if it offers them encouragement or support, like working out or losing weight.
I mean, why not?
I’ve tried to practice the art of not “withholding”… compliments, smiles, encouragement, praise, etc. because people NEED that stuff.
It makes me feel good to offer that back to others.
The older I get the more I embrace more of what life is… all of us twined together in some form or another…
I’ve realized more than ever this past year that my tribe is the most valuable gift I possess in this wild ride of life. My husband is strong, fearless, and the most patient loving, giving, generous man on this planet. I’m so blessed to have him.
My kids who are now all adults have turned out rather amazing in spite of some worrisome years in the past. It’s crazy to me they are getting married and having babies and living in their own houses and all that other stuff… I can’t be that old… can I ???
Ah yes, indeed I am, and it’s perfectly ok.
I’ve never felt stronger, more energetic, fit, or fierce in my life. I have no wish to be any other age or place than where I am right now. I’ve earned these years and all that goes with them… smile lines and all… and I don’t try to hide it.
My only desire is to age gracefully, love wildly, not be afraid to take on new things, and truly appreciate all I’ve been blessed with.
So I stand on the threshold of another year. To take on harder challenges, to stretch myself, and hopefully to be able to grow more in my thinking and understanding, to learn, laugh and love more.
I’m surrounded by people who love me warts and all, who celebrate my achievements and challenge me to be all I can be, there is no greater blessing.
So cheers to another year, another pure gift of life, for which I am beyond grateful.