The birthdays of my three grown sons fall close together, beginning at the end of July. Their birthdays were opportunities for parties and special food when they were youngsters, but since they have all passed the landmark twenty-first year, I’ve noticed less jubilant anticipation as each one’s special day approaches.
Most of us have experienced an occasional feeling of dread when watching the march of years moving us inexorably toward old age and the dreaded “D” word. We sometimes feel resentful at the changes we observe in our physical selves and valiantly struggle against the inevitable.
That would make sense if life were a party where we can only have a raucous good time until the grumpy landlord unfairly throws us out. But I don’t see it that way. Life is a journey. The lucky ones among us get to hit all the stops along the way; the play group of childhood, the thrill ride of adolescence, the fulfillment of career and child-rearing years and the slower, gentler, mellower years of old age when we learn to let go of our decaying physical shell and look toward the eternal joy to come.
My birthday advice to my sons is to accept every new stage of life as an adventure. Instead of resenting or fighting against it, seek out all the joy and wisdom each stop along the way can bring.