Sunday, July 23, 2017

      Birthdays. A day to celebrate? A day to make it all about yourself? A day to do anything you wish? The focus of birthdays changes through the years. If you’re lucky, like I was, it was a big deal in your family. You got lots of presents, a favorite birthday cake, and people sang to you. 

     When we’re young, we don’t think about our age; we just revel in the attention and material things. Currently, kids are getting thousand-dollar parties with ponies and circus clowns. I think I’d appreciate those things even at my age, although the price tag is somewhat over-the-top.

     Today is my 74th birthday. Hard to believe I am almost 3/4 of a century young. How do I feel? Physically, I feel like I’m 16. I can still do most of the things I did at that age, but I no longer ski or do the splits, mainly as I’m afraid of injury, not that I couldn’t. Well, the splits, come on, Sandra. Who are you kidding?

     Mentally, I’m just as capable as I was in my twenties, as I am able to memorize a one-hour one-woman show including piano compositions that require intricate maneuvers of my old fingers. 

     Emotionally, I am about 16. Some things never change.

     Intellectually, I continue to grow because I love to learn, and I can’t get enough of what interests me. I still take courses, I still do research, and if I pushed myself, I could go back and get my PhD. At this point, it would only be to say “I did it.” There are other things that are more important though. 

     I am proud of my age, and I’m not afraid or embarrassed to say the number aloud. It is what it is, folks, and despite the fact that our culture is based on youth, and old people aren’t really respected or recognized, I am still proud that I’ve survived all these years when there were times I didn’t want to, days that never seemed to end, and crises I never thought I could endure. 

     I’ve known pain, suffering, anguish, anxiety, sorrow. But I live joy. I have bad days, even sometimes awful days; but most days are fun, exciting, productive and full of gratitude and joy. I couldn’t feel the latter without having experienced the former. 

     This morning, as I think about the day ahead of me, I choose first to be grateful for all I have and continue to enjoy. I am grateful for my family, my cherished friends, and my good health. I am grateful for the gifts God has given me, and I pray that I may continue to share them humbly.
I pray for my friends and family who are hurting in any way, and I will put something kind on my “To Do” List as a birthday memory. Thanks, Big Guy, for one more wonderful year. My footsteps are next to yours today.