Today is my 40th birthday. I don’t understand what 40 is supposed to be. Am I old? Is 40 the new insert-younger-age-here? Should I feel good or bad about this birthday? I’m inclined to say “good” but honestly I’m a little tired and my back hurts.
Really a birthday is just another day. I still had to get the kids off to school. I still have to run. I still have chores and work to do. I get a little bothered by the idea that my birthday is supposed to feel special. And a little bit like there is something wrong with me because I didn’t wake up with a glittery, lovely feeling in my heart this morning.
This morning was still hectic. The girls didn’t remember it was my birthday until I reminded them about the donuts I bought at the grocery store for today’s breakfast. After I got them off to school, I sat down for a more wholesome breakfast to fuel the three-mile run I’m supposed to do later. And then my digital world started to buzz.
Facebook notifications, text messages, emails about Facebook notifications. The world was awake and had been alerted to the anniversary of my birth. So The World took action.
As I started to read through all these messages and well wishes and started liking and replying to them, it became clear to me what turning 40 really is. Scratch that – it’s not just 40. It’s what all of these birthdays we are lucky enough to keep having are about.
I considered each and every person wishing me a happy day and realized the true prize of growing older was having a collection of people in my life whose lives had somehow intertwined with mine. That this web of memories and hearts is what our lives are built on. Without the people in our lives, past and present, where would we be? And the older we get, the more people we collect, even when you are a little on the anti-social side like me.
This is the prize of getting older in our modern world, at least. Before we were all online we had to rely on our own reflections to appreciate those who had been part of our lives. Perhaps growing older is more fun now than it used to be.
Or maybe I’m wrong. Maybe it’s not about the people in our lives
Maybe it’s about the knowledge we accumulate over the years, making us wiser so we are better prepared to face each new challenge in our lives and the lives of our children, family, and friends.
Ha ha – just kidding. It’s totally not that. I’m pretty sure none of us knows what we’re doing. We just care less about the fact that we don’t know what we’re doing when get older because we are tired.
So this is 40. I’ll take it.