At the age of 45, writer Regina Brett wrote a column for the Cleveland Plain Dealer listing 45 lessons that life had taught her thus far. As a breast cancer survivor, many of those lessons were learned the hard way. Five years later she added five more lessons rounding her list up to 50 and turned her popular list into a book called God Never Blinks. I found her list to be entertaining, inspiring and thought provoking. I thought I would go through each of her lessons learned and write about how that lesson has or has not come up in my own life, now that I am over 40 and feel old enough to have finally learned something.
"Growing old beats the alternative. Dying young looks good only in movies."
~ LESSON #36
Well, it took 35 lessons before I got to one that I call my own. One that I use as a mantra. I have never understood why people bitch about their birthdays. Because they don't want people to know their age? It makes them feel old? Well, duh! Birthdays mark another year of living.
The pessimist will say that they mark one year closer to death. That would be troublesome were we to know what age death would come. But we don't. It can come anytime. To have another birthday means our time hasn't come yet. Good, yes?
Also, to complain about a birthday can be an insult to someone around you. It can make someone older than you feel even older to have someone younger say that they are at that "old" threshold. It can make someone who has lost a loved one feel annoyed with your careless thoughts. The same for someone who is struggling with a serious illness.
Don't you realize that life is all we have? That it is to be celebrated? To be appreciated? That a birthday is more than cake and presents or a number to fill in on a form? It is the anniversary of the miracle of birth. A moment to admire the wonder of being alive. A time to appreciate what we've learned and what we still need to do. People who get to have lots of birthdays are the luckiest people of all. Our new nephew was born just yesterday. I can't wait to celebrate his birthdays with him.