Over the last 5 years or so, my Birthdays leave me feeling a tad bit unenthused. Every year that BIG day rolls around on the calendar is like another slap in the face. I am getting older and there is not a darn thing I can do about it. It’s not as if I am depressed about getting older per se, it is more like I am less then thrilled and would rather not think about it all that much. My blase attitude toward getting older dramatically changed over this past year. A multitude of events caused an overwhelming amount of personal contemplation for me on what it means to live. It is absolutely amazing to me how much my sorrow and grief for the loss of mutiple loved ones, led me on this internal reflection into what it really means to live, and I mean REALLY live. I have to say, I undoubtedly learned the most about this from the life of my Father-in-Law. He was diagnosed with ALS three years ago, and lost his battle with the disease this past month. Boy, what a battle it was. His own body betrayed him, lavishing a war against his spirits. He didn’t take it laying down, not up until the very end! Prior to his retirement, he had dedicated his life to the education system, so I think it fitting he is the one who ultimately taught me so very much about life. His fight taught me an amazing amount about courage, kindness, strength, weakness, struggle, pain, suffering, perserverance, and persistance. I learned about the human spirit’s ability to overcome challenges when faced with them, to adapt and continue to move forward with good humor and a positive attitude. I’m sure you’ve all heard the saying, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” It’s not always going to be easy, but it is a choice we can all make and be better for it!
Life is an absolutely amazing and precious gift. We should all celebrate our lives and everyone we hold near and dear every moment of every day. Never take your life, or those you love, for granted for we never know just how long we get. This is why my outlook on reaching another Birthday and being another year older has completely shifted. I am embracing my 37th year as another year I get to spend chasing rainbows and achieving my dreams, all the while surrounded by my family and friends whom I love most dearly!