Birthdays. We all have them. Every year. We tend to love it when it’s someone else’s day, and squirm when it’s our own. It’s easy to celebrate loved ones, shower them with cards and gifts, share kind words and pour some love into the hearts of another.
When it’s our own special day, we should be as kind to ourselves as we are to others. It’s easy to shine the light on to others; harder when loved ones shine the light on you.
Every birthday is a special one. To be alive to see the number turn is a gift. To be able to hug loved ones and experience life is a gift.
Turning 50 is a gift. Turning anything is a gift. My parents were always proud of their age. It was not a hidden number. It was actually a sense of pride to age and be the eldest in the room. There is beauty in wisdom and strength in a person who “has been there.”
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I look up to my friends who have lived through many decades of life. Their bank of experiences hold adventures, triumph, and resilience.
Aging is a graceful process when we take care of ourselves. But it is work. It is an intentional decision to integrate a peaceful lifestyle into each day. Healthy fuel for the body is a must. Stimulating fuel for the mind is a priority. And kindness to the heart is essential. It is simple, yet so difficult in our fast-paced, high-achieving, stressful lifestyles.
It is inevitable. This birthday number changes every year, but it is finite. Every time our number increases; it is a blessing. Anyone who has dealt with a health challenge or has dealt with loved ones’ struggles understands.
When people are grateful to be their age, they have become comfortable with who they are. They see value in life and feel love deeply. They know it’s an honor to be in this world. They treasure the past, are relieved to survive the struggles, and realize the best is yet to come. They surround themselves with a safety net of people. People who show up in life; especially when it matters most.
When it’s your birthday, people show up. They call, send messages or cards, they share love and join in the celebration. Loved ones and their unselfish kindness is a gift to the heart.
The show-up people in your life become your safety net. You tangibly feel the safety net that forms underneath you; they show up to celebrate you when times are good and are right with you ready to catch you when times are rough. A few solid people provide all a person needs to endure life’s journey.
Birthdays reveal the beauty of family and friendship. It is the one extra-special day where your heart is filled with love. The beauty in your safety net, is that those people in your life make random days of the year feel like your birthday.
They have a way of making you feel special because they are there, because they care; for no other reason but because they believe in you and want the very best for you. Being a safety net is easier than we make it. It simply involves effort; a smile, a hug and genuine kindness.
You know who your safety net is, and you know who you are a safety for. It’s a great day to share some love, whether it’s a birthday or not. It means something and we need more of that; the mean something kind of moments keep each other going through life.
Birthdays are wonderful.
50 is beautiful.
It’s simple; thankful to be alive and feeling loved. Gratitude. This is what life’s all about.
Jeannie Liao is a mother of five, writer, and former administrator for The Fresno County Office of Education and Clovis Unified School District. Jliaogleason@gmail.com