December is my birthday month.
I don’t normally do this; take an entire month to acknowledge my birth … Until now. Truthfully one day is enough and I’ve never been one to be big on “celebrating me.” I’m more of an intimate and memorable celebration type of person.
This time however (for me) it’s a bit different and pretty significant.
The end of this month will mark my 50th birthday. Insert wide eyed look of shock here.
I’ve spent the larger part of this year celebrating the fact that I have five well lived decades behind me and middle age is now mine for the taking. Yes, you read that correctly, ever the optimist I intend on haunting my children by living until the prime age of 100.
It’s a crazy thought to ponder half a century on earth and what that might mean for an individual. First there’s the notion of a woman openly sharing her age with no apology. Ageism after all is still a thing. I’m a firm believer however that the more of us who openly share and own our age and wisdom the closer we can be to ending stereotypes and limitations due to age.
Make no mistake, I am absolutely more than twice a better human at the age of 50 than I was at 25. That’s said with no disrespect to the 20 something and with complete confidence that anyone 40 and up gets what I’m speaking of.
The passing of this year as I’ve lived it and the acknowledgement of gratitude for living five decades comes honestly for me. I recently had someone point out something to the effect of “What’s the big deal? We’ve all hit 50.”
This would be the place where I had to correct them and insert the sappiness of why I’m so grateful to be celebrating this milestone birthday. Truth be told, I know a number of amazing humans that did not make it to celebrate their half a century mark. Death, the passing of those we love became very real for me at the age of 10, when we lost my maternal grandmother to a heart attack. She was my very best friend and the second passing I vividly remember as a child.
Now, I realize it’s the holidays and for some this may seem a bit depressing, but hear me out, there’s a lesson here.
We never truly know when it’s going to be “our day,” as they say. And I can just about imagine a large number of eyes reading these words know at least one person that they loved who did not make the half century birthday. If not, consider yourself both blessed and lucky. It is after all one of the biggest struggles we face as we are surrounded by the joy of the Holiday season – the void of that loved one.
So … as December the first lingered ahead of me I made the decision to embrace each and every one of these final days in my 40s for no other reason other than … I can. It’s quite simple really, it’s not about cake, cookies and big fanfare, but rather about gratitude for life and all that encompasses, good and bad.
Gratitude for another visit with Santa, waking to “Where’s Shelf?” also known as Elf on the Shelf, even gratitude for the frustration of traffic. If I had nowhere to go, traffic would not be an issue.
That’s what 50 years on the planet has taught me. It’s not about being grateful for the latest and greatest gadget or Apple product; it’s gratitude for all that is simple and wonderful.
As I continue my countdown these next couple of weeks, that is my birthday wish to share with each and every one of you – choose gratitude. Don’t sweat the small stuff, because it’s all stuff. Here’s to another decade full of highs, lows and all the in-betweens and at the end of it all, good health, love and laughter. Amen.