Thursday, May 13, 2010

Happy Birthday - Enjoy it because you have it

Getting older - everyone does it, unless they're no longer living. That does sound trite, doesn't it? But it's true.

We hear it all the time, people bemoaning the fact that they're turning 30, 40, or the big 50. They won't admit it, they make a big deal about saying that they're not acknowledging it. They don't want a party. They're feeling badly about their age.

But what is the option? If you're alive, you get older. And, in most cases, getting older is something to celebrate. You've lived another year, you've touched more people. You may have made a difference in some more lives. Getting older isn't a death sentence, it's a life sentence. It means you are alive, breathing, and hopefully, loving and having fun.

I'm going to turn 49 in two weeks. I have already told my family that I fully expect a big party for my 50th next year. Why deny the age - I will be 50 years old next year. And with that 50, I'll have experienced highs and lows, but by being 50, I'm still around to experience more of them.

I'd be a liar if I say I don't look back sometimes and wish I could relive a particular time and done things differently. But we can't, so it's just wishful thinking.

Did you realize that in palliative care and hospice, birthdays are usually celebrated? Because in palliative and hospice care, the focus is on every day you are alive and if your birthday comes up, it's worth acknowledging it. Ignoring it won't make it go away.

In this world where we do our best to look our youngest, where we try to defy nature with surgery and Botox, and other invasive procedures, what happened to appreciating what we have, what we've done?