My Birthday This Year

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My birthday was July 1st. I turned an undisclosed number of years (stick around I might disclose it later, who knows). But what does it mean anyway, turning an X number of years? The cliché answer is age is just a number… not really. It is not a number for menopausal women, or 20 year olds wanting to get into a bar.

Think back to different ages in you reached in multiples of, let us say, 5 years. Emotionally, biologically, psychologically and cognitively you were significantly different, to say the least. Laugh out heartily if any of this rings a bell for you.

You re 20, you feel empowered, you are no longer a lame teen, you cannot believe that you used to hang posters of those teen idols you practically worshipped (you know which ones). You feel very sophisticated, you are in college, and you seem to be able to process information in a whole new way. You seem to see life in a whole new light; you cannot believe you never saw it before. “Oh my God I was so silly!” you think you have arrived, you know all there is to know. You are so proud of what you seem to have accomplished. Now all you have to do id watch out for the popular kids think, you have to be like them, that is the way to be.

Fast forward five more years, you are now 25; you have officially joined the working forces, none of that training, ushering, and summer job crap anymore. You realize there is a whole new layer of thinking and information processing. You encounter a new set of culture shocks, you realize it is either sink of swim, you are in the big leagues now kid, and you are on your own. You notice yet another new way to analyze things; you cannot believe you used to believe what you believed when you were 20. “Oh my God, I was so silly!” yet again, you think you have arrived, this time for real. Now, you know for sure you know all there is to know. You give yourself a part nostalgic, part all-knowing smirk to your “old ways” and begin to embrace your “new enlightened ways.” World, here I come!

Moving ahead five more years; you are 30, much calmer, and more poised. All the noises in your head are finally quieting down, allowing you to finally think. The layers of muck, dust, confusion, and self-doubt begin to peel off and you see the world in a completely and utterly different way, it is like someone has finally turned the switch on. You realize there are no rules, no regulations, but that is OK. Life is messy and unpleasant, but no problem, it is beautiful all on its own. Now you really do know that you were a very silly cow, but so what, silly is good, healthy even. You are no longer mortified at having been silly; in fact, you make sure to be silly as much as you can. You realize that life is just one big farce, and you take it in stride, even enjoy it, warts and all. You finally realize you are better off embracing what you cannot change for the sake of you sanity; you can finally identify what are the things that you cannot change. You laugh more, genuine heartfelt laughs. For the first time in your life you confidently admit to yourself that the most important relationship in your life is your relationship with yourself. You finally truly love you.

If we were to sum up each age in one sentence it could probably be something like this.

15 year-old –it is about: I have to have this game, or my life will be over.

20 year-old –it is about: I have to have these pair of jeans, or I will be case out by the cool kids.

25 year-old –it is about: I have to act sophisticated and world weary or they won’t take me seriously.

30 year-old –it is about: I have to enjoy myself and life as they are or else it’s not worth it.

The older you get the more introspective you become, the more introspective you become the better you understand you inner workings and the crazy way of the world. The better you being to understand those enigmas, the closer you come to peace of mind, heart and soul: the lynch pins to long life 

You are not defined by your age, but rather what you have done with your years; the kind of person you have become, how you deal, what you have accomplished with your life. This is the true measure of the length of time you have spent roaming this Earth. But what is an accomplishment? By definition, an accomplishment is: the completion of fulfillment of something. During my Earth-roaming years, I have found out that nothing in life is black and white, so an accomplishment can be building rockets, have the habit of saying thank you while meaning it, and everything in between.

With that in mind, and on the occasion of my new year in this loco world, I decided to take stock of my undisclosed number of years, but with a new, more merciful eye. I decided to finally cut myself some slack; it cannot be all that bad, can it? I am alive, healthy, loved and in full possession of all of my mental and physical faculties.

So what have I been doing? To name a few things, I have loved my family, my friends, and stayed true to my ever evolving identity. I was never a hypocrite or false, never crass or unduly rude (hey, I’m no angel). I have screwed up, and broken things; I have failed miserably and cried burning tears. I have also managed to pick myself up and start again. I have learned from most of my mistakes (some I just keep repeating, but who said that I am not a work in progress). I have held on to my appreciation of the little things in life: a dewy morning… the call of the nightingale… a baby coo; the things that dare you not to smile. I also managed to get over many of my fears, not the least of which: daring to write my thoughts and sharing them with people.

Then there are the somewhat usual accomplishments: got an education, got a job, got promotions, bought a car, saved money and invested it, that sort of thing.

But… my biggest accomplishment by far is unconditionally loving myself and cutting me some slack.

So right now, I have 31 years of accomplishments under my belt, maybe not all of the accomplishments I had had planned for myself as a kid, but what did I know then anyway, I was fantasizing and besides, I am not done yet. And maybe those accomplishments are not in line with what convention and society have regulated, but who cares? I know I finally, really and truly don’t, and that in itself is a major accomplishment. So for my birthday this year I gave myself a warm, heartfelt pat on the back, and a “you rock girl!” I have taken this life of mine for a test drive for the past 31 years and worked out the major kinks; the fun is about to begin 

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