Cause to Celebrate

Today I turn 38. Happy birthday to me. JI am definitely one of those people that doesn't only acknowledge her birthday, but celebrates it! I talk a lot about perspective, and how an ever so slight shift can make a world of difference. Instead of cringing and thinking about another year gone by (and subsequently one year closer to your final curtain call), I chose to view it in another, more positive way.

I have accrued yet another year of joy, laughter, growth, peace, and knowledge. I stand on the cusp of another 365 days that promises me much of the same, albeit in different costumes and disguises. I store all of these delicious memories in the recesses of my mind, and when necessary take them out and reminisce, remember, caress, or express gratitude for what they brought to my current life and state of being.  I don’t livein these memories or thoughts of the future, that would only rob me of the current moment, ripe with its own opportunities to learn, to grow, to thrive. I simply use them as tools to guide me on my way.

I am not afraid of aging. In fact, when I see an older or elderly woman I often think how beautiful she is. Yes, skin is wrinkled, but it’s also as soft as a baby’s. Hair may be thinner, but it’s also a breathtaking snowy white. The girls often pull up my white hairs and giggle, it doesn’t bother me in the least. My wrinkles and lines show me that I’ve had tons of experiences, all positive but sometimes hidden in folds of sadness, grief or despair. So much laughter in my life, I wonder how many cumulative hours have been spent giggling, chuckling or outright belly-laughing in 38 years? Just think of all those calories burned… Just think of all that joy shared...

My mom, Me, Gramma B., and my sisters, Jilly and Steph ~ Thanksgiving 2011
When I consider an elderly person I often marvel at the vast amount of wisdom and growth that they've have the time to accumulate. I realize that not all human beings use their time here in the same way that I am, but still, the potential is there. I look forward to all of this, and stand with arms wide open. No botox, no hair dyes, so surgery for me. Age is a medal that I will wear without shame, on full display for the world to see. I have lived, I have lived well, and I am proud of it.

I do not fear death, I never have. I wasn’t always certain of what I believed happened after death, but I knew it was better, easier than what we do here. In my heart I know now that dying is a beginning, and we don’t leave here until we’re done with this experience. No exceptions. Some are done at 5, and others at 105. I’ve never been able to feel sad when people die, and have often felt compelled to hide my real emotions knowing that most won’t understand. How can I mourn a soul that’s blissfully free? A soul that has escaped the bonds of being a human, and once more knows love, joy and peace completely and wholly? Since I believe that we’re all pieces of one large magnificent whole, where’s the sadness when I know that they never really left, merely changed form? All I have to do is close my eyes and listen to hear their voice once again.
One of the first signs of spring, happy crocuses
 I often read quotes and books where this world is compared to an illusion. I never understood that concept until a couple of years ago. Comprehension came to me in bits and pieces, when I was ready to process it all. This is how I've explained my knowings to my girls…I believe this life is a dream of sorts. You know when you’re sleeping, and the dreams are as real as anything that has ever happened to you in your ‘waking’ state? You experience fear, joy, sadness, terror or even death. This dream may go on for 1 minute or 5 hours (seemingly), but eventually it will end, and you will always wake up. And when you do emerge from this alternate reality, does anything that happened in your dream world really matter? I've been shot in dreams, I often fly in dreams, last night I misplaced a baby and bought a camper. Did any of it truly affect me once I woke? No. I was whole and unharmed, my feet were anchored on the ground (sadly), there was no camper in my yard and as far as I know, the baby is safe and sound with its family.

I believe much the same of this life, with a couple of slight rule variations. I believe we will all wake up one day and we will leave all of the grief, pain,  and joy of humanness behind us. What happened here will feel as though it were simply a long and unusually complicated dream. After all, how much does the dream matter to the dreamer once awakened? But unlike a dream, I believe we will take things from these human experiences along with us on the next phase of our journey. We will take memories of sadness with us, to better experience joy. We will take memories of hate with us, to better appreciate love. We will take memories of despair with us to better revel in peace. Actually, once written down and upon rereading I've just realized that perhaps dreams have the potential to do the exact same thing for us, here now. Huh, who knew? 

So if I do not fear death and I do not fear aging… I can do nothing but celebrate. I’ll spend some time today thinking about where I was a year ago, and where I am today. At this point in my life the experiences are coming steadily, I’ve asked to know more, be kinder, do better. The Universe is happy to oblige. Life is constant change, one right after another and resisting the inevitable only brought me pain. Acceptance has opened the door to deep peace and slivers of profound understanding that come often enough to keep me hungering for more.

I’m smart enough to realize that the experiencing never ends, and the knowledge will only grow. For each new concept that I grasp, I realize there are infinite more waiting for me. If not in this lifetime, perhaps the next. I realize that what I’ve shared today may read as nonsense to one, two or all of you. That’s okay. Our journeys are all different, all amazing, all special. They are each worthy of celebration. So, on my birthday I wish you all a Happy Birthday. I wish you all a year overflowing with joy, peace, compassion, kindness, experiences, growth, love and laughter. Happy Birthday.J

Peace & Blessings ~ Melinda