Remember the lyrics to Smashing Pumpkin’s song Today…
today is the greatest day i’ve ever known.
Well, that’s how I used to think about my birthday. Each and every one of them was THE greatest day I’d ever known. In fact, I made sure they were. I’d start a countdown typically 45 days before the big day. Everyone I encountered was updated every single time I saw them. Every. Single. Time. Eventually, they would tell me on their own… “10 more days, i know”. My birthday was to be the very greatest day of the entire year. A day with no problems, no worries, no sadness. 364 days a year, it was a crap shoot but my birthday… well, that was a day to be happy. A day to feel special.
These days, my birthday is different. I won’t tell you that you suck if you forget to wish me a happy one (although you might) and there is no countdown. Nowadays, my birthday has become more stealthy. Like a ninja, it creeps up in the dark and scares me. Not because I’m vain (although I am). But because it reminds me that death is looming up ahead and I’ve just sped one year closer to it. Now that is a depressing thought which is probably why you’ll never find it on any Hallmark card. There is value to that realization though. It makes me stop and sit in serious reflection.
Do I like the person I am today more than the person I was a year ago? Has the last year brought about change and growth? Am I doing what I can to live my life’s potential? Am I moving closer to who God designed me to become? A perfect birthday present would be an emphatic YES! to all of those questions. Well, that and these. But if I had to pick just one… I’d pick feeling confident in knowing I’m on the right track. It takes the sting out of getting older and makes my new age just a slight annoyance on the highway of growing into me.
Becoming the better me has always been my ultimate goal. A quest to become not perfect but the perfect version of me. Changing, growing. Finding the parts of myself that I don’t even know exist yet. Discovering the character I don’t even know I have. Unearthing the person I never knew I could be. Sadly, I don’t think I did enough of it in the last year. I regret that.
But you can’t move forward when you’re looking back and so today will be the greatest. Not because it’s my birthday or because I’m going to a Reba concert tonight (THANKS SIS!). No, it’s because TODAY is the real gift. It’s another chance to evolve and another day to become.
*For those of you that were thinking of a more traditional gift… I wear a size 6.5 shoe 😉