Who doesn’t love birthdays? Okay, maybe for some of us having a birthday is about more mourning than celebrating, but that’s for another article, or is it? I’ll keep writing and if you keep reading we’ll find out together! Why write about birthdays now? February is an amazing month for birthdays, both presidential and preeminent people from the past, present and hopefully the future! When you get the chance look up famous birthdays in February; it’s quite a lengthy and notable list. That’s not to say you have to have been born in February to be fantastic. It’s not the calendar, or the candles that determines your calling, it’s your heart.
When we were young, or when we were younger, birthdays were a big deal! They were all about the presents, games and of course the challenge of blowing out all those candles in one big breath; where failure meant you’d have to wait a whole year to redeem yourself. Celebrating another birthday gave others an opportunity to not just cheer another year but share their support and hopes with ours for even better years to come; and hopefully their congratulations included a customary gift, usually the spending kind! Even if you can’t or didn’t blow out all the candles, there are usually some little lungs nearby who are always willing to assist in a good cause; especially if that includes cake and ice-cream afterwards.
As we get older, birthdays become more about presence than presents. Our invitations become more like announcements than shopping lists and we realize the best gifts are the love and friendship of others. They are not only easier to unwrap, but can be enjoyed long after the candles melt away. Yes, still being able to blow out all those increasing candles is a challenge, but I don’t think having that many candles on your cake at once counts as ‘letting your light so shine.’ You’ll have to take care of that with your smile and heart.
Whether you are looking forward to your next birthday or not, I hope that you will still be thankful for your birth on every day of the year. I hope your best presents come from the presence of loved ones and the happy memories you share together. And as far as those candles go, don’t fear the flames that remind you how many years you’ve traveled, fear letting your inner flame go out because you think you’re too old to be happy, or to make a difference. It’s not the number of candles that counts, but the light and legacy you give and share with others throughout the journeys of your life. It’s not about the yearly increase of emotional miles, but the increase of smiles and forever friends made along the way.
So, whenever your birthday is, or was, I hope you enjoy all the days in between. Remember to not fear the flames of the future! Keep your lungs in shape for that yearly showdown and in the meantime keep your heart in shape too. Don’t forget that life is meant to be enjoyed so add as many smiles to your miles as possible! In the end, you can have your cake and eat it too. Just remember to blow the candles out quickly so you’re not eating a lot of wax! Have a Happy Birthday and every day in between.