I’m having one of those birthdays.
A big one.
The kind that makes a cluster of tiny little candles on a cake impractical, and two large candles – one of them a zero – a more fire-safe choice.
The kind of birthday where people buy you joke canes with horns attached and t-shirts emblazoned with “Over The Hill”.
Yeesh. I am officially looking middle age in the rear-view mirror.
I have struggled with the concept of time almost since I could conceptualize it. And so birthdays have never given rise to feelings of joyous celebration, but rather a dire sense of foreboding that it’s all about to end. The clock of my life is ticking, winding down, the sand steadily running out.
I guess it is.
Who ever knows when the “about” and the “end” will collide.
And therein lies my constant anxiety.
Birthdays for me are like a fidgety check of the wristwatch.
What time is it now?
How much time is left?
Is there enough time to get this done?
Is it too late to do that?
At the same time this birthday barrels toward me, I am witness to multiple graduations and I find myself remembering me at 18. Full of excitement about the life adventure ahead and certain that it was rainbows and butterflies for the duration.
I was fun. So much fun.
I saw the bright side, drank from cups that were half flow to overflowing.
I made friends easily, believed that good would triumph. I asked questions – lots of them – believing that I could learn truths that would lead to change for the good.
“Pollyanna” was all but stamped on my passport.
And then life showed up and the shine started to dull.
It happens to all of us.
Work, family, money. Life, love, loss.
It’s the journey, and at some point we all become weary travellers. The cups we drink from are more empty than full. The answers to questions we ask simply leave us with more questions. There is too much that must be done to allow fun to seep into our days.
Until those big birthdays with the heavy zero forces us to take another look at that span of life from the days we take our first step into the adult world at 18 until we are closer to getting the senior discount than we are to getting “carded” at the bar.
This evaluation has been having a rather profound effect on me lately and I have brushed off some old realities and made them new again.
The time to live is now. Get the sports car. Travel. Prudently splurge on things that bring happiness. Do it. Now.
Because we don’t know how much time is left.
Because if you have today, then there is enough time to get living.
Because it is never too late to go back and see life optimistically. No matter how many candles are on the cake.