Monday, February 15, 2010

Hey Its My Birthday!

Remember when you were a kid and birthdays were a celebration that you were FINALLY another year older? Another year closer to something. From about 3 to 12, I looked forward to birthdays for the cake and presents. Big milestones were 16 so I could drive, 18 so I could vote for Jimmy Carter for Pres and of course, 21 so I could finally quit panicking that the bouncer would reject my fake id. For a while in my late 20's they were fun because a friend and I would hit the bars and tell the bartender it was our 21st birthday so we could get free beer. Then we'd laugh until we were in tears because at the ripe old age of 27 or 28, we could still pass for 21. Once I had kids, I decided my birthday wasn't that special anymore because each of theirs was a celebration of the 3 happiest days of my life. My birthday just wasn't as much fun, not because I dreaded the marking of time, but the day didn't really mean much anymore.

I'm pretty sure my dad had a different philosophy. He was the only male in his family who lived past the age of 40. So rather than think that each birthday was just a tick marking another year, it was the reminder that he'd gotten another year he really hadn't expected to have. Dad had a wonderful sense of humor, but I think he was really serious about this. When he turned 70, he started scaring the sh*#t out of us with his driving. When I said maybe he should slow down, he replied "I'm not going to become one of those old men who go 45 mph on the highway" - and believe me he didn't! And not that he was perfect, but he exercised regularly and most importantly he stayed engaged and interested. I never heard Dad complain about growing old.

So given my pretty scary bout with cancer, I'm starting to feel a little differently about birthdays. I'll look forward to my birthday and celebrate good another year. I'll use it as a day to reflect on what I'm doing to enjoy my life. Its not so much that each year, I'll try something new (or daring), but I'll just check in to make sure I'm still doing some things that I truly look forward to. Your birthday should be about what you can do and not about what you can't do just because you turned another year older.

Hmmm, wonder if I can get a free beer today?


1 comment:

  1. Love this post Monique. Since my cousin died I just can't look at a birthday as a bad thing. Its great to stick around and learn a thing or two and love the people in your life that much more. :)