Age is just a number.
Whenever summer rolls around it's time for another birthday. This year is "big" one, but I'm okay with that. Here's why:
When you’re a child you eagerly await the next birthday. You want to get older. Some of those early milestones include turning 5- one whole hand and time for kindergarten. Double-digits, and then becoming 13, an official teenager. Of course you can’t wait to be 16 years old (in NYS) and get your driver’s permit and get a part-time job. Eighteen and you are now an official adult, you can drive past 9:00 PM, you can join the armed forces and you can vote in local, state and national elections. Then the big “21” and even 25. All such substantial milestones and reasons to celebrate!
Unfortunately not every child reaches those milestones. Whether they were an infant, child, teenager, or adult; when you have experienced the death of a child it leaves you feeling justifiably robbed. Not only robbed of the life of your child but robbed of the life you imagined you’d live with your child present. You lose your child's future and the trajectory of yours is altered greatly. Besides losing the milestones of the child who died, any living children's milestones are also robbed because they will forevermore be missing their deceased brother or sister in everything they do from that moment on. Both the big things and the small will be affected to some degree.
It is hard to reconcile yourself to the idea that you no longer get to celebrate the milestones of that life. In turn it may become more than difficult to celebrate your own birthdays. My husband and I struggle to celebrate our birthdays now. Are we glad we’re alive? We are. Life is sacred. We are glad to be alive because we have each other, our living children, the family and friends that make our lives so rich and so valuable; however, counting every additional year that we are blessed to be alive is just another way it hurts to face the fact that our son is not.
Abraham Lincoln is quoted as having said something like “It’s not the number of years in your life that matter but the life in your years,” and that’s very true. So how do you put life in your years?
I think it starts with kindness. Show kindness in all you do, first because it’s right and second because you never know what someone else is carrying around in their backpack or maybe in their arms. We are not God. It is not okay for us to pass judgement. It is not okay for us to be indifferent. Our world will not become a better place to live in without actively putting more love and kindness into it.
Be sure to become engaged in life instead of passively watching life happen.
So what are some goals we have to look forward to as we get even older?
There are some great things- graduating high school and moving onto college, a college graduation and then hopefully you get the opportunity to fulfill the personal goals and dreams you’ve set for yourself and the life you want to live. Marriage and having children are great life events, if that is your vocation.
...Question for you- you’re already an adult. Can you get more adult as you age? Do we become adult “er” or adult “est”??? Not really. Wisdom sometimes comes with age, and the possibility of contentment too. If you realize you haven’t found happiness in your personal life or your career, it may be difficult but not impossible to stimulate change. We are always growing and evolving. Stretching ourselves to become the person we were created to be. Becoming the best possible version of myself that I can is what I strive for every day.
Now being an adult means you have other things to look forward to besides just a bigger number. No, we get to put so many things on our list of accomplishments - like mammograms, hot flashes, menopause, colonoscopies, wrinkles, gray hair and gravity (pulls EVERYTHING down). These are things only slated for those of us who are blessed to live long lives...just kidding, but not really...
In all seriousness, age is just a number. The bigger the number, the more life you have lived. The more chances you have had to love and be loved; that is a blessing.