This birthday feels like a pretty significant one for me, as I say goodbye to thirty-eight. It was last year that I found a lump in my breast and my entire world changed after that moment. Thirty-eight was a hard year; a year filled with many lessons, challenges, and triumphs. Not just cancer-related experiences. I’m sure for most people, thirty-eight is not necessarily a particularly significant year in their lives. Eventually all the years start to mush together, and become periods of time or life-stages, rather than an individual 365 days. But in my case, I am quite confident that I will never forget the 365 days of being a thirty-eight year-old.
I think many people who have had cancer would say that birthdays take on a new meaning after you have been diagnosed. They truly do become a celebration, and an accomplishment, rather than just another year. I have noticed that most people view getting older and aging as something to fear, and something they don’t want to face. It seems everyone makes comments and complains about how old they are getting, or how much they’re dreading turning 40/50/60, etc.
Thank you 38 for being so patient, adaptive, critical and open to positions you never thought you'd be in. I have grown this past year more deeply and passionately than previous years. I have found more things to love and appreciate. I have learned to trust and be proud of the work I have created. I have fallen to the pressure only to be picked up by new possibilities. I have traveled and experienced some of the most beautiful places. I surprised myself. I allowed my heart to grow. I have simplified life in order to focus on the important things. I have seen life cruelties reminding myself to always be kind and put people first. I will always do what I love and love what I do and never again fall short to a standard.
A rock star once reminded me to "actively participate rather than continuously anticipate, to accept what challenges you and defy gravity." This year I will do just that.
I am no longer part of this massive majority of humans who fear birthdays and wish for eternal youth. I dream of getting old. I dream of turning forty. I think getting older is a gift. It’s a privilege, to make it through another year, and have your health. It’s not a given, and it’s not your right. I feel very blessed to get to have another birthday, and to be able to share it with the people I love most in the world. I’ve earned this day, and I’ve struggled to get here. And now that I’m here, getting older never looked so good.