I recently came upon a milestone birthday (the number is not important), albeit with much dread and loathing. I told my wife, Lisa, I’d just as soon let the day come and go with nary a mention. Birthdays have a way of doing this…making you think as you confront and reflect on your life. You ponder your accomplishments, how your life has progressed, as you think about the future.
Lisa had another idea. She managed a secret surprise and had two of my three children, my daughter-in-law and one of my two grandchildren fly in for the weekend to celebrate. Boy, was I ever surprised! Shocked was more like it. How they pulled this off is still baffling. I thought about it and could not recall ever being truly surprised in my life until then. Well, this gave me no time to wallow in my somber mood or ignore this milestone. My family had gathered to celebrate in my honor. As I opened cards and gifts and laughed with my family, I quickly became appreciative of the occasion to celebrate.
It really is a state of mind to see this as a choice. I am an inherently positive person…a glass-half-full kind of guy. I chose to longer bemoan the passage of time. Having my family there to surprise me and to celebrate with me helped me to not dwell on the negative aspects of a milestone birthday, but rather to focus on the fact that I do have a great life—family who loves and cares for me, good health, wonderful friends. This is what matters most. When I consider the alternative, it’s not so bad.