Each birthday should bring recognition and gratitude for the blessing of being alive. It’s a familiar saying, “Do not regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many.” We all know people close to our age or younger whose life ended much before they or their loved ones would have chosen.
Such awareness of age is unusual for me because I was never bothered by the numbers. Age is not something to feel responsible about. It happens automatically with no help or consent from anyone.
Magazine articles sometimes pose the question about what would you go back and tell your young adult self if you had the opportunity? Given that I should be wiser now, it’s an interesting question to consider. I would most assuredly tell myself to quit thinking that everyone else feels ever so confident about their appearance, decisions they’ve made and future choices. Regardless of age, some people know how to appear poised and secure, but it doesn’t always mean they feel that way.
I would remind my 21-year-old self that everything changes over time, and not to get overly comfortable or upset with how things are presently. Change is inevitable. If I was told that, I didn’t learn the lesson till later in life. I thought if solutions were discovered for particular situations, they were permanent. Sometimes they aren’t.
Always consider other people’s suggestions, but that doesn’t necessarily mean following or ignoring them. Some well-intentioned advice I was given at 18 or 21, I discarded, only to rethink it many years later and act on some of it. Which brings us to timeliness. Success might not all be in the timing, but a significant amount is for sure. Consider carefully how appropriate a decision is for the circumstances and whether the time is right for it.
Some things really do last forever, like love, but may be defined differently as we mature. People and circumstances change but love can still thrive, while realizing some disappointment and discouragement will likely happen at various times. Forgiveness can be an antidote for situations but tolerance and respect are always primary.
One of the greatest gifts to give loved ones is independence to choose according to their personal needs, while still considering others’ preferences. Not all choices are possible, like turning back the clock, but alternatives, compromise, acceptance and a firm understanding of personal and other people’s values can help.
It’s just a number, say positive-thinking folks, about the age thing. It is, and we can get annoyed, ignore it or embrace it. Whatever the number, it will never be less so celebrate and be thankful for each day.