I just celebrated another birthday on the 4th of July.  These days every birthday feels like a BIG one!  It’s hard to believe that the days and weeks and months of my life have simply evaporated into space and I’m still trying to decide what to be when I grow up.  I shudder sometimes at getting older, but the truth is, I guess we’re always just getting older…you know, getting younger is a mind set…getting younger is a choice.

When I was a teenager, like most teenagers, I counted the birthday milestones.  Pretty soon I’ll be eighteen and then my life will be exciting!  Or I’m going to be twenty-one now, so I’m old enough to be considered legal if I walk into a pub on main street.  Those seemed like things to be excited about.   When I turned thirty, I had my first ever birthday party and went to a big amusement park and rode all the roller coasters.  I thought I was really living then and finally grasping the idea that life was an adventure and there were lots of twists and turns, but it could be worth shouting about and taking all the ups and downs.

More time passed and forty hit me like a ton of bricks.  I thought there was some kind of mistake in the math, some kind of odd moment when everything was out of sync and suddenly I was there wondering what to do now.  Apparently now I was a fully grown, card-carrying adult.  Before I knew it another decade passed and now all the ribbing about having a bad memory, or slipping into old age, didn’t seem quite so funny.  Yet, there is something to be realized in all of this.  There is the fact that every day, every moment that I get to draw another breath, I get to become even more of who God intended me to be.  I get to breathe in life and count the happies as we say in greeting card lingo.  I get to light up even more with every candle, see a little further into what is possible, set off on a new adventure or blaze a new trail with the fire I’ve been given.

I’m thinking now that I need to embrace every one of those candles, hug every decade and give thanks for the fact that life is indeed fleeting for any of us, over too soon no matter how old we get to be.  So count the happies.  Count the people that make you smile, the work that makes you feel satisfied, the prayers that are answered for you and for others because you are here to connect to life, to God, and to the world around you.

I used to wonder what it meant when parents would admonish their children to “act their age.”  Most of the time a kid acting like a kid was doing just that, acting their age.  So now I see that acting my age is without limits, without guidelines, without absolutes because acting my age, is about acting like me, playing the role of my lifetime, and counting every moment of blessing I’ve been given.  Sure, another candle may be inserted in the frosting, but taking the cake is up to me.  I get to celebrate the awe of life’s adventure because it has been given to me by the grace of God.

I think it might be wise no matter what date your birthday falls on to celebrate your life today, this very moment, counting the blessings and the happies until you’ve exhausted every one.  Light a candle, set a blaze going in your heart that reminds you of your value and your worth and the incredible work you are here to do and when you look in the mirror and see the person you are, the one who is still being shaped and molded by your Creator, you can smile…smile BIG!

You’re simply an incredible being and each day you wake up to who you are is worthy of celebration.  Sing a little song, do a little happy dance, and celebrate the opportunity this very moment brings.  Whoa!  Happy Birthday to you!

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