I had a birthday a few weeks ago. As the candles on my cake increase, the grains of sand in my personal hourglass decrease. I no longer feel like I have "all the time in the world", like I did when I was young. As the years pass by I feel like time is becoming more precious, and I feel added pressure to use it more wisely. My mortality has become a reality, and it is frightens me.
So, how do I stop the growing wrinkles (that play havoc on my refection in the mirror) from defining who I am? Well, first of all, I don’t look in the mirror as often as I use to! And, I have come to believe that age is now defined by how I feel on “the inside”. So, to feel young on the inside I have to be more careful of how I take care of myself, both mentally and physically. What I eat affects how I feel. How much I sleep affects how I feel. The relationships I have with others affects how I feel. Bottom line, I found I have to be more “responsible” for my life than ever before. That kind of stinks, I liked being young and carefree! I know it is impossible to live responsibly 100% of the time. But, I found a quote that helped me put things in perspective—a reality check in a way-- on what to allow into my life:
“Simply remember that everything you add to your life that is not important detracts from everything that is.” ~David Friedlander
Read it a couple of times, and I think you'll agree that finding more meaning in life really can be that simple. I have this quote on my bedroom wall as a constant reminder on how to prioritize things, people, and activities in my life.
My niece Katrice recently wrote on her facebook wall,
“If you have never written your own obituary, you should. It is quite the
unexpected experience. Now I need to write a bucket list.”
Apparently she had to do this for an assignment in a graduate class she was taking. It is a sobering thought to think in a way we are writing our own eulogy--day by day--by the way we live and spend our time. I know I felt a slap on the side of the head when thinking about this. (Just to let you know, I write about things I need to work on myself!!! I am constantly trying to give myself pep-talks on how to improve life and make it more meaningful for me and my children.)
My birthday cake still has room for many more candles. There are adventures waiting to be pursued, memories yet to be lived with my children, and conversations to be learned from with friends. It helps knowing I have loved ones who give me encouragement, meaning, and purpose, no matter where the grains in the hourglass lie.
I have thought that I have more years behind me than I have ahead, but after seeing this headstone my thoughts may be wrong! Check out the age of this person, by enlarging photo--an actual grave maker at the Holy Cross Cemetery in Santa Cruz.
As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “The world is all gates, all opportunities”. So the next time you make a wish before blowing out your birthday candles, make it a meaningful one—one that you plan to make a reality!
(Note: I hate to make a post without any photos. I don’t mean for these photos to be morbid, I am posting them more tongue-in-cheek. This was actually a really cool cemetery we visited in Santa Cruz -- if you want to know why I was there, post me a note or e-mail me!)