Night before last, I went to a funny, holiday-themed play at a community theater with a group of friends. On the way home, I learned that two of the women with us were turning 80 within a few days of each other at the end/beginning of the year. They are both vibrant, engaged, and living real lives. I had to admit I was surprised. (We have the stereotypes on this so wrong as a society!)
What was more interesting though was how they were seeing the milestone. The difference between the two of them could not have been more dramatic. One was going to San Diego (from the Seattle area) for two weeks of assorted celebrating. She was excited about the coming decade and ready for it to be her “best decade” just as her grandmother had admitted of her 70’s a generation before.
The other was dreading it.
They are both virtually the same age. Are they going to have the same quality of life?
The “dreader” saw the need to redirect herself as we finished the ride, which is the great news in this. But what about the ones who don’t get the innoculation of someone else’s happier approach?
You’re gonna turn 80 either way (at least if you are lucky enough to get that far). Seeing the pluses is a whole lot more fun. And ignoring the ridiculously inaccurate set of expectations we are bombarded with from the culture is critical.
I always make a big deal over the “zero” birthdays. It’s my excuse to do something particularly grand and/or self-loving when they are mine. I also love to mark 75 for women friends. Party, fresh flower crown, BIG deal fun.
But celebrating doesn’t have to be reserved for certain birthdays. There are unique milestones that also warrant some festivity. (At the moment, I am looking forward to the last day of my online dating subscription….)
What does celebrating accomplish? At its very core, a celebration says “There are things going on in my life. I have completed something important. And I am happy about that.”
It also says “Life is good!”
But the most important thing it says is “I am not done yet!” Oh yeah. I will celebrate that again and again and again.