Saturday, May 26, 2012

Happy Birthday to Me

Another year has gone by and it's birthday time all over again. Happy birthday to me!! Unlike many people who I hear bemoaning getting older, I celebrate it with all my heart. It hurts me to hear people feel badly about their age - after all, we all get older. Isn't that what we want? It sure beats the alternative.

I don't know if I feel this way because of my nursing background. I have worked with patients who died unexpectedly, years before anyone ever thought they would die and I have worked with seniors, with decades of living behind them and who have reached the end of their life. I've also worked in palliative care, where people know they are going to die and we did our best to make that passing as easy as possible. But I have also helped people get better and go on to live longer as we treated them and healed them, or we gave them tools to manage their illness so they could go on to live long and productive lives. As odd as this always sounds to me when I think it or put it into words, I've also helped save some lives by detecting sudden deterioration in patients, performing CPR, helping give life-saving medications, and more. It's a blessing to be allowed to do this.

Or maybe my belief has nothing to do with the nursing at all. Maybe I feel this way because I had a tough start and I let that tough start define me for too long. When I hit my forties, I said, "I've never been better." When I hit my fifties, I thought, "if I thought the forties were good, this fifty stuff is even better."

So far, 2012 has been amazing. I love what I do for a living. My mental health has never been better. I have learned to accept and love who I am for what I am. Although I live with fibromyalgia, I'm fine. I manage it and work with it. Of course, I'd rather not have it, but I do - so let's move forward.

I have loving friends. I have a fantastic family. I have supportive and wonderful writing colleagues who cheer my successes and support me when I'm disappointed.

I have plans, I have dreams - and as I turn 51, which will happily lead to 52, 53, 54.... I will continue to celebrate each and every passing year. Life is full of challenges, but they can be overcome. I'm proof of that.

Happy birthday to everyone, whenever your day is here. Celebrate it, don't mourn it. Without birthdays, there would be no you.


Lisa Carter said...

Excellent post, Marijke! As my dad was growing older and less able to do the things he loved, he would say, "Lisa, whatever you do, don't get old." "What's the alternative?!" I used to reply. ;-)
Happy, happy birthday and all best to you in the years to come.

Babette said...

A big happy birthday to you! I do my best to maintain the same attitude!!


Ame said...

Happy Happy Birthday! I wish everyone felt like you do. Every year I party just a little bit more. :-)

Unknown said...

Happy Birthday!

Marijke Vroomen-Durning said...

Thanks folks. I think there's a big difference between being old and incapicated, and being older and able to live life, even if it's not as physically active as before.

We can learn to do new things, different things as we get older.

Unknown said...

Hi Marijke,

Happy belated birthday, for this year, and for all the years to come. I plan to live until I'm 100 or so, so each birthday is proof that I'm gettin' closer!

Jane Neff Rollins