Recently celebrating a significant birthday had me thinking some serious thoughts. One sobering thought being that birthdays are annual markers measuring significant stages of our lives. I hadn’t thought about birthdays much—it was just an event that I celebrated with family and good friends.
At one stage of my young life, I felt seriously ripped that my birthday happened right after New Year’s. How awful was that? By the time Christmas flew past and then the excitement of celebrating the New Year, along came my birthday which everyone felt too pooped to celebrate back then. Of course, now that I’m a mature and responsible adult with mature and responsible adult friends, logic flies out the window. We celebrate anything but if there’s someone’s birthday, then that’s a reason for party, cake and chocolates.
I can honestly say that I have never celebrated my birthday with such gusto and enthusiasm as I have these past few years. Blame it on the aftermath of Christmas and New Year’s. I like January because we also celebrate Chinese New Year’s at the end of the month depending upon the Chinese calendar. This year, however, Chinese New Year was later as it fell on February 19th, the Year of the Ram. But when it falls in January, the whole month is mine because Chinese New Year runs for two whole weeks—none of this one day celebration for us!
What’s really interesting is that the very young and the elderly are not at all bashful about disclosing their age. Being older is a badge of honour.
My little granddaughter will be 4 on February 28th. If you ask her how old she will be, she will gaze at you with her blue eyes, flash her dimples and proudly declare that she is “sebben.” That happens to be her older sister’s age. At least I always thought it was but I’ve been corrected as Big Sis informed me, “I’m 8, Po-Po. I was 8 in August.” Whatever happened to my plump little brown-eyed cutie-pie?
My Mom has always been very private about disclosing her age to anyone other than her taxman and her doctor. When Mom moved to her seniors’ apartment and met her many neighbours, it was quite a revelation as all the ladies were eager to disclose their ages—after all, a number were already in their late 90s and four ladies ranged in age from 101 to 104. Mom’s older sister recently celebrated her 95th and her sister-in-law celebrated her 97th last October. Now my very private mother is telling her table-mates that she will be 90 in August.
With two aunts well in their 90s and my Mom almost there, I hope I’ll be blessed with longevity too—barring heart attacks, diabetes, the dreaded falls, the big “C” and whatever else lurks out there. Of course, there’s always the runaway truck/car/train or that big earthquake that’s long overdue on the West Coast or any number of events or other health crisis that may fall. BUT I’m not going to let the “what-ifs” stop me from enjoying my Life to the fullest. My wise Dad use to say, “If your number’s called, then you have to go. Just do everything you ever wanted to do before your number comes up!”
Thanks Dad–I’m finally listening. I’m grabbing Life by the coat-tails and not letting go. . . .