On Birthdays…

Everyone tells me… “after a certain point, I stopped caring about my birthday”. Their reasoning is that they started feeling too old, or maybe too tired or jaded to bother.

I don’t quite feel the same way.

Every year has its charm. Aging isn’t something to fear or dread; it’s a blessing. After all, aging means you’ve lived. In the majority of the world, people aren’t born to live. They’re born in war, famine, poverty, disease, etc. All the odds are lined up against them.

It’s a privilege to expect aging as a guaranteed part of life. It is also a privilege to age in an environment that is not conducive to living, so, if you were born somewhere difficult, rejoice. You’ve made it this far!

I have learned, however, that with age comes less inclination to celebrate false friendship. The crowd around the cake gets smaller every year. You don’t have to write up a list of who to invite anymore. Your expectations dwindle.

Over time, it becomes less about the party and more about who you will spend your time with on your birthday, and every other day. What once was “it can’t hurt to see so and so” becomes “oh yeah… it can hurt.” You begin to realize the value of your time and, more importantly, your heart.

How many times can a heart break? 25? 30? 40? 80?

For me, it was 28.

I turned 28 years old yesterday and, for the first time, I chose to only celebrate with true friends, family, and Harry Potter!

It was a revelation.

Every year has its charm. Celebrate it. Sure, you’ll become picky over the years. You’ll have a harder time accepting disappointment. I’ve been heading in this direction for several years, but it really took being 5 months pregnant to accept it. 5 months… and who picked up the phone? Who checked on me? A major life event really sets your priorities straight.

If my “friend” didn’t check on me once throughout my pregnancy, they weren’t around the birthday cake either.

This was both heartbreaking and exhilarating at the same time because, as someone who believes that only she can design her luck, I can confidently say: one who cannot choose his friends wisely will always miss his luck.

So, as you age, be sure to continue celebrating every year of life. Yes, life is hard. Yes, shit happens. Yes, your back hurts. No, you can’t drink as much. It’s all part of the charm and privilege of living.

Not everyone is so fortunate.

But remember to celebrate selectively, and surround yourself with people who fill your heart… people who understand the reciprocity of friendship… people who you would be honoured to resemble. After all, we quickly begin to look like the people we spend our time with. Choose wisely.

And remember… we design our own luck!

M.

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