“Every year on your birthday, you get a chance to start new.” – Sam Hagar
I’ve never been apologetic about my age. While some lament age 40, I was celebrating my marriage to Phil and three years later awaiting the birth of our daughter Sara. My age 50 celebrations included a girls weekend at the Oregon coast with two friends. Several years ago my oldest brother died tragically at age 55; it has been an unearned blessing to continue having birthdays after I reached that number. I turned 60 a couple months ago and celebrated in the midst of Covid. We spent just one night at the coast and didn’t venture far from our room. There was no big family gathering with music and dancing. This time my number of years has struck me as a sign of moving into a new stage of life. Many people retire in their 60s and I am looking at my social security information and retirement accounts differently. Age 60 has been more challenging than others.
I have used the occasion to think not only about my age but about the importance of acknowledging the gift of the number of our years. Birthday parties for young children are often organized around a theme like rainbows or Star Trek or Noah’s Ark. Teens may go roller skating or to one of those places where you jump into pits filled with nerf balls or on huge trampolines. A friend went skydiving on his 40th birthday. Phil’s 50th birthday was a hymn sing, an important part of his life. Birthday gatherings can include a prayer of blessing or words of appreciation from guests. I wrote a croning celebration for a friend in her 60s honoring her years of wisdom and experience. Ten years ago I made a book of photos for my father’s 80th. My church recently celebrated our oldest member with a shower of cards for her 105th birthday. Birthdays are more than Hallmark money makers. They are celebrations of who we are, where we have come from and where we are going...what better reason to celebrate?