As a “Woman of a Certain Age,” I have rather mixed emotions about birthdays. Sure, I like people to fuss over me (who doesn’t?), but the flip side of the calls, cards, and messages is that sinking feeling….the knowledge that I’m, well, of a “Certain Age.”
I’ve recently noticed friends and acquaintances who’ve inverted their birthday celebrations. Rather than keeping the focus on themselves, they turn outward to make the anniversary of their birth an opportunity for service and love. Just this morning, a fellow alumni of the interfaith seminary I attended (One Spirit Learning Alliance in New York) boldly declared, “Today is my birthday, and I commit this year to the work of justice making.”
And, yesterday another friend offered up a different kind of bucket list to celebrate her birth week. This birthday girl’s “Top 10 Birthday List” included lighthearted random acts of kindness, special meals and self-care, time with loved ones, and a more weighty pilgrimage to return home to the Midwest.
I’ve recognized, too, a good number of socially-minded social media friends who have used their birthday as an opportunity to raise money for some cause or another.
In a time of so-called affluenza, it’s terrific to see such generosity of spirit. What better way to give thanks for a birthday milestone?