Last week was my birthday. Among the well-wishes was the theme of age. For me it’s like New Year’s Day. Every year I am shocked by the number of the new year. It feels strange every time I write it for a month. Then I get used to it and am startled all over again the next year.
My friend says, “Age is just a number, and mine is unlisted!” I usually ignore the package that is assumed with a certain age. I write my own set of conditions, aspirations, capabilities and values.
There is one place, though, where I am alert to age. It is a reminder to create the kind of life that I want rather than accepting the default that other people live by. It is a time to reflect on what is important to me. What are my values? Are little white lies okay, just not big ones? Do I keep watching tv programs that make me feel bad and say that I’ll read a book instead next time, only to watch the same program the next day? Do I keep hanging out with a group of people even though the discussions make me cringe? Do I ignore a homeless person, unbathed and desperate, even though he is craving to be seen? Do I hold onto ideas that scare me and limit me?
My birthday is a time to look at myself and what I have brought into my life. What I have accepted without regard for the possibility of doing it differently. I hope that I am better this year than last. “Better” meaning braver and more cleverly finding solutions to quandaries. Better than last and getting more profound, clearer and powerful everyday. How about you? What does your birthday mean to you?