We’ve all had them, some of us lucky ones have had many of them.
Birthdays signified so much when we were young, right?
Presents! Everyone applauding! Laughing! Parties! Birthday cakes, candles to be blown out, good wishes for another glorious year!
For those few hours, we were the star of our own show.
Do you remember those?
When we were young, the years stretched out ahead of us forever, or so we thought.
When we were 9, we couldn’t wait to be 10; we couldn’t wait to finally be 21 when we were 20 (OK, probably a lot earlier than that, right?)!
Life unfolded in small steps, with each day getting us closer to ages we couldn’t wait to be.
Being a teenager just seemed so glamorous – going out at night, dating, driving a car …
Being engaged / married / parents also seemed exciting for many of us, things that would signify we were adults, grownups – we’d be able to do everything we wanted to do!
And then life changed.
We grew up. We turned 21, 30, 40 …
We learned that it wasn’t all wine and roses; there were a lot of ups and downs we hadn’t really known adults faced.
But we were still young, still looking ahead, hopefully still living a good life.
I remember turning 50, which seemed so momentous.
Not young anymore!
It actually felt odd to celebrate it. I mean, really? Celebrate being on the downside of life, of being on the “back nine,” as they say in golf?
My daughters were then in their 20s; how on earth did THAT happen?
And that was 25 years ago, folks. Yup. I turned 50 quite a while ago.
And you know what? Life surprisingly continued to get better and better.
I finally had grown up to be a woman my parents – especially my dad, who died in 1987 at the age of just 72 – would approve of. Would enjoy being with. Would appreciate.
A woman who learned lessons from them and so many others about living a full life of joy, love, caring, helping.
A woman who is far stronger today at 75 than she ever was at 50. A woman who walks four miles nearly every day with her dogs up and down the hills of our small condo village, who owns a tiny cottage above a beautiful bay, who has no debt, who still works and loves all of it!
A woman who knows very clearly who she is, what she likes and doesn’t, and how to live her best life, hopefully for another 25 years.
What brought this on? Looking at another birthday in mid-April, my 76th, which seems older than 75. Closer to 80 than 70. Wow.
But I’m grateful for every day I wake up, for every day the sun shines – heck, even for the fog that this time of year socks us in for hours. It’s all a part of a life I’m loving.
Looking back at that picture of me (I think it was my 10th birthday) just reminds me of life long ago, and how lucky I’ve been and still am from that day to this one.
How about you, friends? How has your life turned out from what you thought of when you were a youngster? Was there a specific birthday that really surprised you?