Officially, the first of January is New Year’s Day, the one day when everyone is most serious about their goals and intentions for the year ahead. I admit; I’ve done more than dip my toes into the pool of optimism and promise that a new calendar year always brings. I write out my goals. I buy more vegetables than usual. I queue up a list of books that I’ve convinced myself I’ll make the time to read. I don’t just test the water with my pinky toe. I usually jump right in, cannonball style.
All resolution hoopla aside, my personal New Year’s Day comes in March, when it brings me the chance to quietly celebrate another full circle of the Earth around the Sun since the day I was born. I won’t say how many celebrations this body has seen, but I can hint that I’ve long surpassed all those smart-alecs that are “holding steady at 29.”
So, what’s to celebrate?
Well, apart from the fact that I can now predict the weather in my hands and I am one step closer to anticipating Bingo night at the Senior Center, a birthday is a chance to reflect on how I’ve evolved over the past year. I marvel at how much I’ve learned and matured (or not – har har, snort), appreciate the connections I’ve made and/or maintained, and take stock of the seeds I’ve sown. If I’m lucky, the good seeds will have taken root while the ones that don’t serve me or the greater good will have not.
Many folks complain about birthdays and bemoan their age. While I was never one to hide my age or cringe at the thought of getting older, I had until recently been apathetic. Birthdays happen. They were just another day. However, as I slip on my tremendously hideous and boring yet comfortable shoes to shop for foods that won’t upset my increasingly delicate digestive system, I’ve changed my tune.
Birthdays are gifts. They are gentle reminders that we were given twelve more months of possibilities and potential that many others did not have. They nudge me to value that fact and to feel gratitude for the time that has been given. Any of us could go at any moment, our most recent birthday our last. It’s an exquisite feeling to have true appreciation for our existence in the present moment and look forward to the potential in our future.
A heartfelt thank you goes out to my family, friends, and colleagues for helping me to celebrate this day. Know that I consider your birthday a gift to me as well, as my world is immeasurably richer because you are in it.
Discomforts of growing old aside, how do you feel about birthdays? Are you an avoider, or do you embrace and celebrate your personal anniversary?