Learn Something New Every Day!

“That it will never come again is what makes life so sweet.”  Emily Dickinson

Remember when you were a kid?  It was important to be very exact when telling your age:  “I’m 7 ½” or “I’m going to be 10 in a few months,” or even “I’m almost 16,” from a 14 year old.  The milestones toward adulthood—turning 16, then 18, then finally 21—are eagerly noted and celebrated with great fanfare.   When did all that stop?

George Carlin muses about this same phenomenon, and then looks at the language we use to mark growing older once we celebrate our more adult years.  As he says, “You BECOME 21, TURN 30, PUSH 40, REACH 50, and MAKE it to 60.  You have built up so much speed that you HIT 70!  After that, it’s a day-by-day thing.”  Somewhere in there middle age sets in!

But even though I am now middle-aged, I have decided that I am not going to get old!  I plan to stay young at heart as long as possible.  To play games, eat ice cream, and celebrate the passing of each day.  I am going to make plans and mark off accomplishments.  I am going to decorate with balloons.  I am going to blow out candles so all my wishes come true. I might even hug a gorilla. No matter what your age—8, 18, 42, 83, 91 and holding—taking action to note your birthdays is important!  It alerts the world, you have hopes and plans for tomorrow.  As Walt Disney says, “All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”

I am making this announcement today, because I am officially 56 ½ years old. Today! Happy Almost Birthday to me!

I am also taking the time today to report a few updates on the goals I have set for myself by the time I officially reach 57 years young.  In an earlier posting, I reported on seven goals I am working on in no particular order.  I have not started on everything, but I have made some progress. I am eating healthier, sorting and scanning my old photos, reading a book off my to-read list, and making plans to advertise my educational consulting business once the new fiscal year gets started next month.  In the next six months, I vow to get a lot done—but not before I celebrate today—and maybe even tomorrow. 

Of course, just because I am counting birthdays and refusing to grow old does not mean that I do not have aches and pains, repeat myself way too often, say things that sound just like my mother, and have more senior moments than I can remember.  But those things are part of life, so I guess they are not so bad.  And laughing over them, at myself, with others, makes everything better.  As Michael Pritchard says, “You don’t stop laughing because you grow old. You grow old because you stop laughing.” 

As my gift to myself and to each of you on my 56 ½ birthday, I share this video rendition of the song “Memories.”  It makes me laugh every time I watch it—and I don’t think it is just because I forget what’s coming next. 


Comments on: "Counting Birthdays & Making Wishes" (13)

  1. Deborah the Closet Monster said:

    “I might even hug a gorilla.” This had me going, “Please tell me there’s an explanation for this!” The picture then made me giggle.

    I love, too, that you’ve quoted Disney. As it happens, I whisked Li’l D off to Disneyland for a night (for reasons to be explained in tomorrow’s entry), so I read this from a room at a Disneyland hotel. Those words are true, and their speaker? He was definitely successful in his pursuit of bringing the magic of his dreams to little ones. Li’l D is enthralled, although I come as much for myself as for him.

    I like your take on birthdays and half-birthdays. I used to be dismissive of birthdays, but my Chinese teacher helped me see them as “our own personal new year.” Since she put it that way for me, it’s been easier to see the joy in other peoples’ birthdays . . . and in my own! Happy half-birthday to you, rockin’ lady!

  2. I do suppose the “gorilla hug” came out of the blue. Earlier this year, my mom–who is in the photo–turned 91 and her sister-in-law sent a gorilla for the celebration. It was great fun and seems a sensible addition to any party!

    How fun to have taken Lil D to Disneyland–it can be a grand and magical place!

    Thanks for commenting.

  3. I have a SENIOR MOMENT to report: Earlier this month, when writing a check, I noticed the date was June, sixth month. What passed through my mind was that I only had six months left to finish the goals I had set for myself to have done by my birthday in January. Then I thought, “Hey that means I will be 56 ½ this month!” Thus I wrote today’s post, earlier as I tend to do about 1 am. Then I went to bed. I awoke with an odd math realization—my 56 ½ birthday will not really take place until July. Drats! I know I am not a math major, but how could I have messed up that? So today’s post is wrong—it is really my 56 and 5 month birthday—not a snappy ring to it. I have decided not to fully edit or trash the post, but to leave it be as a tribute to senior moments everywhere. If you are a stickler for accuracy, don’t read my post until next month. I am going to celebrate today and next month!

  4. Happy 56 5/12 birthday! Good for you for celebrating! After all, every year — indeed, every day — is a gift worth celebrating. The video is precious. I’m sure most of us in middle age and beyond can identify with those “senior moments.” So good to be able to laugh at them. I commend you on making progress on your life goals — for even having life goals! Much success with all of your aspirations! Have a happy 6 1/2 months to your next birthday!

  5. afrankangle said:

    Great perspective for all of us about life. That cake looks extra yummy. Nonetheless, we went to different high school together, but I’m just a tad older. I belatedly celebrate my birthday with a post about the number (age). So here’s the one I did about 56 … so consider it to be a belated present. But I knew better than to give you the 57 post. 🙂 Thanks again for the wonderful perspective.


    • Thanks for the good wishes. And the link to your site–I will check it out soon. And the cake is great–one my sister makes as a tradition for her kids–very yummy!

  6. That gorilla is hilarious! I’m going to ask for one for my next birthday!

  7. I came to this post via ‘Steppingstones’. What an awesome post! I just turned 51 and can relate to every thing you say. I have to tell you, also, that this was an hysterically funny video. It’s so true!!!

  8. A great post and a great video. I laughed and laughed, especially about what did I come in this room for?

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