It is always interesting to me what transformations occur on my internal landscape when we hit my birthday. There have been years where I reached a landmark age and felt strange about it. Some years I’ve really needed affirmation and appreciation. There were times when I needed it and didn’t get it. Other times I needed it and it arrived. For several years I posted short stories on my birthday, but then came a year when that felt too stressful so I stopped. I’ve had forty one birthdays, which is a large enough sampling that I can confidently say that I don’t know how birthdays will affect me in the future.
So much of how I approach my birthday depends on the months that came before. This year I had an extremely affirming Kickstarter experience in December followed by a wonderful convention last week and another convention to look forward to. I’m feeling full-up and that fact of my birthday feels somewhat irrelevant. I like feeling this way about my birthday, because on the years where I really needed recognition I wanted to feel this way instead.
Except I think I might be wrong in this. There is true value in celebrating a person, not because of anything they did, but because each person is a miracle worthy of celebration. That core fact sometimes gets buried in the trappings of gifts, notes, cakes, and balloons. Then we lament the physical symbols of celebration, when what is truly lacking is the recognition of value. It is so much easier for me to celebrate someone else than to celebrate myself. It is easier to see how amazing my friends are than it is to recognize similar things in myself.
“How old are you Mom?” Gleek asked as we drove home this evening.
“Forty one.” I answered.
“Really? I thought you were like 38.” She kept talking and I got the sense that somehow she didn’t want to think of me as being that old.
“I like being Forty one. It is a good age.”
“I thought people got upset about being forty.”
“Some people do. But I’m here. I’m healthy. I’ve accomplished many of the things I want in life and I’ve got time left to accomplish more. This is a good place to be.”
It seems like a good assessment. I’ve got a whole year ahead of me to enjoy being forty one.
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