Today is my birthday. I am 35. Officially middle-aged, if I am not mistaken.
As my years pass, I have noticed a natural tendency to shift my perception of what old is. 60 is the new 30 as far as I'm concerned, since it is now becoming clear that someday I will likely actually be 60. When I am 50, I am guessing 80 will be the new 40. Self preservation, perhaps, but also familiarity and a higher comfort level that getting old isn't really all that bad. What the body loses, the mind (at least at this point) gains in comfort, wisdom and maturity. I would never go backwards in age for a youthful body--it's not worth it!
Faith, of course, plays a huge role in how comfortable I am with getting older. I am now absolutely positive that the really good part starts at the end of this life, so what is there to dread, really? This position sheds light on why we celebrate birthdays, a.k.a. aging, at all.
My kids (with help from grandma) baked me a cake this afternoon. All on their own, they planned a impromptu "party" for me that included homemade streamers cut out and strewn all over the floor and a game of musical chairs completely set up and administered by them. They jumped out and surprised me with a Happy Birthday song when I arrived home and gave me the best, most sincere hugs and kisses I can ever remember receiving from them. Could there be anything better?
This little party was a complete surprise to me (in fact, I had a doctor's appointment planned in the afternoon that I completely missed due to my delight). When the kids woke up, they did not know it was my birthday until Jay told them, and they figured out after school, on their own, what they wanted to do for me. I loved their spontaneity, creativity, and the way they gave of themselves so purely. I will never forget this, as it meant more than any planned party ever could have.
I went out to lunch with my parents at my favorite restaurant (Japanese, where they cook on the table in front of you), and had phone calls, well wishes and unexpected gifts from good friends and family alike. I have another celebration to look forward to with my in-laws tomorrow. But best of all, Joey had a really good school day. Few struggles, high accuracy the first time through everything, work completed in a timely manner. One of the best gifts of the day! How can I bottle this?!
I suppose it is exactly because every day is not like a good birthday that makes one so very special. But the very best elements of today--kids, husband, family, friends and faith--are part of my everyday life. Lucky, lucky me.