I rarely cross-post pieces between here and my blog at Beliefnet.com, but I have a sense with this one that I am supposed to do it, so here goes...
I have a birthday that stops people in their tracks. An elder Generation Xer, I was born on June 6, 1966. Yup. 6.6.66.
People at motor vehicle and police officers stopping me for speeding (call me 'lead-foot') would take my identification, read silently, look up with the same playful-yet-mildly-freaked-out expression and say something like, "Whoa, 6. 6.66, huh? That's some birthday." Kids, who were not so polite, would say, "Hey, is that carved on your head?" (The Omen hit the big screen when I was about 10.)
But I digress.
I could make this a quippy little post about an unusual birthday (no so unusual, since two others in my high school graduating class of 126 share it) or I could get to the heart of the matter.
Turning 43 is a little weird.
This may be true of all odd-year ages past 13, but I've never considered it until now. Three years past, "Holy &#@&, I'm 40" and seven years away from, "Is it possible I am 50?", 43 feels old and young at the same time.
On the one hand, I'm on the brink of completing a rather tumultuous but worthwhile shift of faith and life that involves new directions, new careers and new adventures. I am grateful for (so far so) good health, a great family, good friends and a growing sense that I can allow myself to accept that my body, my face and my outlook are changing in response to enduring more than four decades on the planet. Admittedly, some days are better than others, and my acceptance of the inevitability of growing older waxes and wanes. At 36 I considered Botox, but decided that I would definitely be the woman on the "Plastic Surgery Mishaps" show whose adverse reaction left her walking around with a lazy eye for 6 weeks; vanity's equivalent of The Scarlet Letter. So I abandoned the notion (for the moment) and am slowly allowing myself to grow into these lines and the effects of gravity on evening Chipwiches and Martin's mom's dulce de leche.
I'd love to end this here - all upbeat, confident 40-something ready to conquer the second half of her life - but there is another side to 43. I don't dwell on it. If I did, it might slow me down. That said, I cannot ignore that if this really was the second half of my life I would need to live to be 86. Maybe I will, maybe I won't. But it is likely that this bike is rolling downhill and there is not a thing I can do about it. Sure, I can eat right and exercise. I can finally succumb to a little nip or tuck. But 43 is not 23 and time matters. This fact can paralyze or propel me. It can frighten or inspire.
Today I choose to be inspired. Today I choose to bound forward - younger, in many ways, then I was when I was a single mother with two children in my early 20s.
How about you? In your teens, 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s or beyond... You only live once. What meaning does this day hold for you? How are you making this day count?