1. You deserve to be recognized! You go through life every day making accomplishments, overcoming struggles, and seeking success. Your birthday is the one day that is all about you! So let yourself be honored. Let your loved ones shower you with love, praise, and attention. No one could live your life better than you so give yourself a pat on the back and accept your own awesomeness. As I turned on my computer today, Google's homepage was birthday stuff. I thought, "that's awesome! What famous person do I share a birthday with?" On scrolling over it, the message said "Happy Birthday Rey!" What a wonderfully, special surprise! I'm so grateful for their crazy technologies that I don't understand that knows it's my birthday and can get that message to me individually! I'm grateful to be recognized and to cherish this special moment.
2. Each year is a badge of honor. We live much longer today than our ancestors before us. Each year of life is a blessing that not everyone is fortunate enough to get. So why hide your age and pretend you are younger? You have earned another badge, another year. What were you able to do this year that you would have missed out on? If you were literally going to make a badge to represent each year, what would this year's badge look like? My badge would include heart and courage for giving myself the gift of falling in love again. It would have one foot forward as I continued to take those steps toward achieving my dreams. And it would have a background of gratitude for all the "little" moments that meant so much to me. I'm so grateful for all my accomplishments this year. I'm grateful to live my passion and try to make a difference each day. I'm grateful to have fallen in love with such a loving, playful, generous man. I'm grateful to have another badge of honor for another great year.
3. It signifies another year to accomplish your dreams. Most of us set new goals and intentions for New Years but our birthday is another great time to evaluate what's important and set new goals. Some people call it a bucket list, some people say "before I die" but no matter how it's worded it reminds us how much we still have to live for and how much we still want to do with our time here. Quit just talking about it and go out and DO it! This is your year! Don't keep putting it off or making excuses. Live each day to the fullest, giving gratitude and sharing love so that when those days do run out you will have no regrets. What do you want to accomplish by your next birthday? I'm grateful to always be setting new goals and celebrating what I have accomplished. I'm grateful to appreciate even the little things that I cross off my list. I'm grateful to not just do them to cross them off but to do them for the joy of it and truly celebrate each one.
4. Your too young to hide your age. No matter how old you are, you are too young to lie about it or be embarrassed about it. If a five year old said they couldn't tell you their age or that they were only three we would laugh. If a twenty-two year old wanted to hide getting older, we would laugh. I'm turning thirty-two and I'm sure I would get some laughs if I expressed a fear of being old. There is always someone older than you that can laugh and say just wait. And if we start hiding or age in our twenties and thirties that is a long life ahead of not honoring all we still have to accomplish. To all my friends out there in their twenties, I can say that for me the thirties have been so much better. And to all my friends in their seventies, I look forward to the day I can have that badge as well! I'm so grateful for all the lessons I learned in my twenties. I'm more grateful to put them into practice now.
5. You're only get old when you stop celebrating. Getting old has nothing to do with age. We've all had that one uncle, aunt, or friend that refuses to grow up. I'm not saying you should keep making the same juvenile mistakes or acting like your twenty years younger than you are but the key to youth is enjoying and celebrating life. There is no age limit on fun or playing. It may take a different form but there are always ways to enjoy life. Don't become that cranky old man/woman from the story books, in the dilapidated house all by yourself. Get out there and celebrate, make friends, have parties, participate in the beautiful world around you! While you may age, you are only old when you let the youthfulness in your heart expire. I'm grateful to play and celebrate. I'm grateful for fake mustaches and crazy socks. I'm grateful that, for now, I can still climb trees, roll down hills, do cartwheels and slide down the stairs. I'm grateful to know that if the day comes that I cannot do those things I will have found a dozen other ways to play. How will you play?
I recognize that most of these points go together and that most of them have to do with aging gracefully. As for me, I'd rather have some wrinkles around my eyes from smiling than to know I spent my life keeping my face neutral so I might look a couple years younger. We are all unique, beautiful creations. We write our own stories of life. Let yours be a romantic comedy or a playful novel not a tragedy. And most of all, show gratitude for all the people that share this story with you. It's a beautiful gift! What are you grateful for today? How will you celebrate getting older? May each birthday be filled with celebration.