Tuesday, June 25 2024 - 1:13 AM
woman picking up shells on the beach
Photo by Dreamstime

So Many Birthday Candles

For weeks now, I have been anticipating my next birthday with a mixture of excitement and dread. Several decades ago, I lost much of the joy of advancing chronology. So about ten years ago, I realized that it makes turning older a whole lot more fun when something special is planned or revealed. Back then, my husband brought one of my best friends into town to surprise me, and we enjoyed a few days of girlfriend fun. My husband and I shared a hot air balloon ride seven years ago, and I loved that! I highly recommend, at least once, viewing trees from the top down and floating at bird level.

This year, at my request, we are spending time on an island renowned for its fantastic abundance of beach shells. We also plan to attend some events and attractions on both parts of this trip. I wish our whole family could go with us, but adults have jobs and responsibilities. We’ve been to this destination once before, and I thoroughly enjoyed hunting various shells. It reminds me of another of my lifetime sports—hunting morel mushrooms. I might get to experience both this year. I realize I am fortunate.

So I started gathering items to take with us—beach stuff, games and movies, clothes, and a few choice kitchen goodies. How did I ever do this with small children? Perhaps I am stuck in the “pack everything” motherhood mode. My husband is a minimal packer while I try to make up the difference. (I even sneak in extra underwear and socks.) We usually balance one another. However, we have forgotten our swimsuits for the past several beach trips and had to purchase economical replacements. Signs of advancing birthdays?

Celebration of Life

I’ve noticed how one can anticipate a date for a special occasion and watch it coming toward you in slow motion. Then the last few days seem to speed up (Oh, I have so much to do!), and finally, the time arrives. One may try to savor each moment or day, but they are over and gone all too quickly. How can we continue the celebration of life?

Sometimes when the children were in elementary school, we took treats to their classes on their birthdays. My son-in-law and I share our birthday month. Last year he requested that his birthday gifts be given as donations to a worthy charity. Blessing others with our lives is a great way to value the time we have been given on this earth. We also need goals and dreams and occasions on the horizon to anticipate. I’m not sure if I’ll have any candles for this birthday, but I will wish to nurture my creativity and continue to attempt to bless others. Seashells, anyone?

Questions for personal journaling or group discussion:

1. What is your definition of “getting old?”

2. How could you make your own, or a loved one’s birthday, really special this year?

If you liked this, you might also enjoy Something to Live For | Why You Should Practice Celebrating Life Today.

Karen Spruill writes from Florida.

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About Karen Spruill

Karen Spruill

writes from Orlando, Florida.

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