Yeah! It’s my birthday. For many years, birthdays made me sad. I didn’t like the thought of getting older. It scared me. I wanted to be young forever. But then it happened, I became one of those older people. The phrase, “She’s no spring chicken” was used to describe me. It hurt. Inching toward middle age is frightening. What’s even scarier is when you start gauging your age versus achievements according to societal expectations. You start telling yourself that you should be married or have a certain number of children. You compare your life to others your age. Your salary doesn’t seem high enough. You’re just not where you think you should be in life….for someone your age. Birthdays can quickly go from a time of celebration to a day of depression.
Your birthday is a time of joy. It’s the day God granted you the privilege of joining this world. Every day is a gift. We are all gifts. I love each and every birthday. Do I shout my age to the world? No. I believe age is just a number, but I’m also aware that society places limitations on you due to your age. Although I’m ambiguous about my age, I truly appreciate every year I’ve been allowed to live.
One reason I appreciate getting older is because my mother died when I was just an infant. One year I was depressed about yet another birthday when I realized that I was older than my mother had been when she died. My life was an extension of hers. How could I complain? She died when I was three months old, so I made it into the world by a matter of months. I’m still here, living life for me and my mother. That was the birthday that I adjusted my attitude and embraced the blessing of life.
How do I deal with not meeting society’s expectations in relation to my age? I simply don’t care. I’ve always walked to the beat of my own drum. I wanted to become a journalist. I achieved that goal. I wanted a masters in creative writing. I achieved that goal although many people thought I should have pursued more lucrative degrees. Happiness and doing what I love has always been more important to me than pleasing others. It’s a risky choice and I’ve had many failures along the way, but that’s life.
So as I sit here on yet another birthday, enjoying the gentle autumn breeze flowing through my hair. I’m not concerned with the gray strands that defy any hair color rinse I use. I prop my swollen ankle up and ignore the pain from my fallen arch. I squint as I try to read the small print of my Essence magazine. These are all signs of aging. Every year there’s a new pain or ache, but I deal with it. I deal with it because every year I learn more. I become wiser, and I value wisdom far more than youth.
So bring on another year. It’s my birthday and I love it!!!