Monday, January 24, 2011

Lessons from Almost Half a Century

I was greeted by my sister, niece, and dad at the bottom of the escalator in the airport. I had been living out of state and I always tried to make it home for Christmas with the family.

As we waited for the baggage carousel to spit out my luggage my dear, adorable, much, much, much, much, much younger (that’s one much for each year younger she is than me) sister said, “Daddy and I were talking about you earlier and he said you would always be immature.”

Dad said, “I did not. I said she would always be young at heart.”

Then, quite a few years ago when I turned 39 I decided to throw myself a birthday party. I chose a Pirates of the Caribbean theme complete with treasure chests, pirate swords, and Caribbean pork roast for dinner. I sent out invitations beckoning my friends to join me in the search for my lost youth.

There was something about turning 39 that awakened that part of my being that doesn’t feel like it’s getting old. Something about 39 that pointed to the fact that regardless of how young I feel, the chronology of my life marches on.

It’s been quite a few years since that birthday and I am approaching another that again tries to slap me in the face with my “advancing age.” In just days I will be “closer to 50 than to 40.” I should be all grown up and have life all figured out at this point in life. I should be mature and staid and not be excited about my birthday.

My mother always said that a person was only as old as they felt they were. I think there is truth in that statement. As I revealed to people this week my realization that I’m “almost 50” I also admitted that I don’t feel that old. I do all the things an adult has to do such as pay the mortgage, take out the trash, plan for retirement, make sure the laundry gets done, and keep income coming in. Yet, because I hope to always be young at heart I also do silly things like form secret societies with my friends to enjoy life, do crazy things to make people laugh, and enjoy my own birthdays.

In my almost 50 years I have experienced life and I have learned some lessons. I have good memories and bad memories. I have made good choices and bad choices. All these things have combined to make me who I am today. I have to admit I am proud of who I am and embrace the years that have contributed to that person.

Today I am going to share some wisdom gleaned from my almost half a century on this old earth of ours.

* Life is too short to worry about your chronological age

* There is a God and He does care

* Make sure the people you care about know that you do

* Plan for retirement and plan for a rainy day, but don’t forget to live for today

* Pets are important family members and will be there for you

* Sometimes it’s okay to play games and have fun like a kid

* Don’t take yourself too seriously

* We are all different – don’t let those differences divide since they add richness to our lives

* Celebrate yourself – your successes, your failures, your joys, and your pains since this has made you who you are

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