Big birthdays are tough for some people, especially the decade milestones. They often trigger feelings about what you have not done, instead of what you have done . . . what you haven’t got, instead of what you have. You measure how old you are, and not how young you feel. Essentially, we spend a lot of anguished time looking backward and forward and not nearly enough time looking at now.
I don’t know if this has happened to you yet, but I went to visit an old friend’s Facebook profile recently in order to send him a private message. I have known Nick since the early 90s, and last time I heard from him he was having a “minor medical procedure” and was going to be off work for a couple of weeks.
When his Wall popped up, I was shocked to see the string of rest-in-peace messages. Nick passed away in December and no one had told me. He was just a couple of years older than me, and left behind a wife and two young daughters. My heart goes out to his family, and my head goes to my own mortality.
I went back to look at the last few messages we exchanged. When I hit my big milestone last year, he offered this bit of comfort, “As far as turning 50 goes, David . . . it is just a number of trips around the sun. This may be the best time of your life, right now. It is for me!”
I loved this so much that I continue to pass it on in birthday wishes to other friends. “Enjoy your trip around the sun!”
Nick always had a way of putting people at ease. We are all hurtling through space at high speed on a rotating ball of elemental fury, constantly looking forward and back at what should be and what might have been. Our lives could end at any moment for reasons completely out of our control and yet . . . Nick could look at “now” and feel grateful for what he had.
I will miss your optimism Mr. Tucker. You made life sound like one big thrill ride.
My heart goes out to Nick’s family. It’s always difficult to deal with the loss of someone you know, even if you weren’t close.
Take care Mr. Goad.
I’m sorry for your loss, David. But I love Nick’s outlook. We can celebrate his outlook on life together. He would be proud of that.
Age is really just a number. And what matters most is what you do with each moment you have – making it count.
If we waste time looking at life with regret, we’re really not living the way we should be. We have to live each day as if it is our last.
I’ve buried far too many friends, family and clients – all of whom were taken ‘too soon.’
And we can learn much about life from those who have passed and who are not here anymore. There are lessons and legacies….much like what Nick has left Earth with, with everyone pondering their trips around the sun.
It’s ironic…..when we’re little kids, we count 1/2 birthdays…… like when you’re 5 1/2 ….. that 1/2 is oh-so-important, isn’t it? IT MATTERS…..because we’re really counting every moment crammed into those 5 years and 1/2 years, too.
If only we could look at life this way now. Wouldn’t it be a beautiful thing? Smoke alarms being set off everywhere, because all these extra 1/2 candles everywhere are blazing on birthday cakes. What fun and silly moment that would be.
I reflect fondly on an “I Love Lucy” episode where every person is only too glad to celebrate their birthday ‘It’s my birthday, too….’ chimed everyone……
I think birthdays should be celebrated every single day….. because each day we’re alive, we’ve given birth to a new idea, a new thought, a new action, a new perspective, a new way of looking at enjoying and celebrating the very thing we wait a whole darn year to celebrate….. that most people gripe about.
So as we make another trip around the sun……let’s just remember
to bring the SPF 100. 🙂
Happy Birthday … and a half….!
Love it Stacey, thank you 🙂
Good thoughts, David. I have to say 50 by far the most reflective birthday for me, but now that I’m 6 months into it I realize not much is different. I do feel I am also entering the best decade of my life and am looking forward to the future. Thanks for this!
Hi Cousin Dave,
My daughter Rachel, age 22, died Sept. 5, 2011.
Life does go on for some people.
I will never be the same and I await each day, week, month, and on ahead to years (trips around the sun) to see what that looks like in my very being.
I still love her very much.
Cherish each day,
Lynn (Goad) Maxey
I am so sorry for your loss. I can’t imagine what it must be like to lose a child. I will pray for strength for you and your family as you heal.
The loss of a child has to be the most heart wrenching experience a parent ever has to face. Our thoughts and prayers have been with your family and with Gods help you will gain strength and find peace. You will always miss her and remember the positive influence as well as the love you shared. Each day is precious and should be shared by loved ones……Regards.U Jim
Thanks Dad. I’m thankful I have a role model like you in my life 🙂
As the days fly by, I look at each day as a bonus and a blessing. I look for and always find something positive that helps me on each days journey around the sun. When a relative or friend leaves us, we then take the time to reflect or we take a guilt trip. In our self-important, busy lives we should take the time to Laugh when we can…..apologize we we should…..and let go of what we can`t change….love deeply and forgive quickly….take chances and give our everything……Life is too short to be anything but happy. As a father and grandfather.,I enjoy the ride each day, even when it gets bumpy.i feel there are too many who waste energy thinking about tomorrow. Sorry about your friend.