To know how to grow old is the master-work of wisdom, and one of the most difficult chapters in the great art of living. — Henri-Frederic Amiel
Like all children, I looked forward to my birthday. It meant a party, cake, gifts. I was one year closer to some milestone of maturity and freedom. To five and to kindergarten, to 6 and first grade, to 10, the double digits, to 16, to 17, to 18, to 20, then 21, then 25. At 30 begins the, oh dear.
This week, I will honor the day of my birth. My birthday, not as a milestone on the way to somewhere, but rather a reverent day of celebrating my soul’s continued, blessed presence on this earth, inhabiting this dear body of mine. My body is feeling the years, but my soul is deepening, rich with contentment and depth.
I am contemplative on my birthday and filled with gratitude. Another year to love bigger, better, more. Another year to be joyful and to be kinder, both to myself and to all who come across my path. On my birthday this year I will be tutoring some students for their SAT’s, and for the TOEFL. My new calling is to help young people reach their dreams. Whilst my children groan when I offer advice (I try not to!), my students beg me for it. They eat my words as balm to their insecure feelings about their lives and the future.
That’s a fine job to have: To stand still like a big tree and give the comfort of shade whilst the young whirl around us, trying to make the leap towards the hoped for direction.
Oh I will celebrate. I will buy myself some white flowers. A glass of champagne by candlelight. At the least, a cupcake. I will toast my departed parents who are forever a part of my birth day and raised me with so much love. I will give thanks for everything. I am happy to be here. Happy to give my soul another year to ripen deeply on this rich and richly flawed earth.
Gotta end with some Dr. Seuss, don’t you think?
“Today you are YOU, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is YOUer than you.”
How do you celebrate your birthday?
P.S. Shout out to the birthday lovelies! Donna, Margo, Laura, Colleen, Paola.
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