Happy Birthday is all in the way you look at it. As children, we all can't wait for the next one and the next one; especially the milestone ones. A teenager, sweet sixteen, twenty-one, all important, so my question that I have been mulling over in my head is when did it not become (for some of us) NOT such a Happy Birthday.
It is definitely a personal issue. I will share that I believe it was when I was ready to turn 40. Birthdays after that specific one seemed to be more depressing in my mind. The people around me tried to work on my mindset and show me the love. FINALLY, I learned that it is up to me to take charge of how I feel about it. I love sharing and celebrating with my family and friends. (Although with COVID, it has been challenging.) I also still love playing the age game that I learned from my grandmother. I am not quite sure how she managed to hide her true age from my grandfather for so many years, but she did. (Until her passport arrived and he saw the true number.) I like to believe that the DNA fell in line on my female side of the family. It seems we can all get away with taking about 10 years off our true age. It is fun, however, it is also a great feeling that friends are not real sure of my true age and that I can easily know now that there is so much joy and happiness and hopefulness for what is to come than a sorrow of the sense of losing my youth.
To think of the losses that so many of us have been grieving about due to the pandemic, or how it used to be to travel or to go to concerts, plays at venues; understanding grief and getting to this point is allowing myself to see that I am becoming more comfortable with the understanding that grief is a part of life, especially as we get older.
It is a mindset and I feel will help me survive. You see, I believe that my best days are still ahead of me. Losses allow me to see that I can come out of a loss as a stronger person.
Two terms come to my mind: Pro-aging and Anti-aging. My question to you then is do you wish to buy into how we need to "fix" ourselves up more and do all within our power to look the way we did when we were in our 20's, 30's or 40's? First of all if we are dressing that way or styling our hair that way, along with using the same makeup techniques then I would have to totally disagree. In fact, it makes a woman look older. I have decided to kick that term out of my vocabulary. If I must use one term vs the other then I would have to go with pro-aging. Not that I want to wear a neon sign over my head announcing my age. What I do want to do is to age gracefully. I still want to look my best. Paying attention to my skin, eating the right foods and picking out clothes that make me feel comfortable and awesome.
As time progressed in my career, I changed not only states that I taught school in, but also schools within those said states. I knew for me, I needed to change positions. From Pre-K to 8th grade, to Athletic Director, to Assistant Principal and also the District Reading Advisor...I tried many whenever the opportunity came my way. It was my way of learning. Not once did I believe that I was working toward retirement. I just knew when it would be time for me to start a new chapter.
If one retires with nothing as their next plan then they have truly lost themselves (just my opinion). It may not be a specific job that you receive compensation for. Or it could be. It is in each individual's own hands. I am liking the fact that I am working on painting, writing a weekly blog and continue to write my novel (with other ideas for next books listed out already.)
I now know how to use more of this time to make the most of my time. Everything is as wide open as I want to make it. Taking small steps along the way keeps me on track. It helps me to improve my health span and not just my life span. To keep my good health, I know there are things on my list to take care of, such as my physical therapy. Watching the carbs and foods that can cause inflammatory conditions does not feel like a punishment. It is a positive impact on how I want to age.
No one knows how long we will be on this Earth. What we do have is the power to take steps to help how we feel while we are here. So really aging is a gift. Definitely not something to fear. It is important to always have curiosity. Sharing it with our children, grandchildren and friends is so important. Meditating and working on our spiritual health rounds out the circle of aging.
~ WITH AGING, I BECOME MORE CERTAIN IN MY DECISIONS, MORE POSITIVE ABOUT WHO I AM, MORE IN CHARGE OF MYSELF AND MY LIFE. ~