Today is my forty-fourth birthday. No April Fool’s Day joke. Forty-four years ago I was born at 7:19am to European immigrants in a major Midwest city.
Almost every year in the past three decades of my life, I have made a big hullabaloo about my birthday.
Not this year. And, I’m contemplating the mystery of my evolved outlook. Every year since my thirteenth year, I’ve wanted recognition. Some sort of special acknowledgment of the significance of the day; parties, trips, special outings, dinners, etc.
Even though I sit in a rented cabin in the foothills of Gatlinburg this morning, this trip is for my kids during our shared spring break. It isn’t about my birthday. In fact, I woke up this morning completely oblivious to the fact it was my birthday until I saw the first few happy birthday posts on Facebook.
Why is it that this year I am not in a celebratory mood? It’s not because I am one year older and the advancement of age has me shuddering. No. It isn’t because I don’t feel special if I am not celebrated with great fanfare and money equals love. No.
I think it is because I feel my worth in my inner core, more so than any of my previous years, and I don’t need a grand gesture by my closest family and friends to reassure me of it. I know who I am.
And, because I know who I am, I don’t need the outward expressions of validation that a marked celebration offers.
I can move along my days and write another year on forms and answer the ubiquitous question correctly, “How old are you?”
It’s just another day to try to make my mark on the world. But, it is kind that people want to take some time and wish me a blessed birthday. I truly appreciate it, and I even feel a little self-conscious about the mounting sentiments.
But, I don’t need it to be reminded I am here for a purpose by having a grand celebration.
I already know I am….only took me forty-four years.