Before I got a computer of my own, before I had an email address, and before I even knew what a blog was, I was a little put off by a technology that in essence did away with snail mail. In fact, although it seems a little foolish now, I formed a club (basically of one) I named Down With E-Mail and voted myself president. I hated the thought that computer generated mail would take the place of tear-open-the-envelope-and-see-the-handwriting-of-an-old-friend correspondence. I felt like a Pony Express girl in an Internet world.
You see, I love letters. Although I'm not always the best at writing them, like my dog who waits for the mailman to drop letters through the slot in the door, I always feel a little tease of excitement at the thought of being a recipient at mail time. I like fine stationery, vellum envelopes, multi-colored pens, pretty cards, funny cards, foot cards, cards with my name on them or just plain blank cards. But what I really go for are the stamps. I'm not into collecting them or searching the world over for rare ones. I just really enjoy going to the post office and seeing what's new on the market.
I'm a little peeved at the USPS. It seems incredulous to me that the price of a stamp is going to go up over 40 cents per little square of sticky paper, even if it does have a pretty picture on the front. I'm not sure, but I think I can remember paying 5 cents for a stamp. Is that even possible? I have to question why the Post Office is not be making a profit. Every time I go, I have to stand in a seemingly never-moving line. Everyone who mails a letter has to pay for it. Try counting up the number of bills you pay out in a month, then multiply that by 39 cents. Then multiply that by all the people in the land. Even emailers and Internet users have to send birthday cards now and then. Don't they?
Which, in a round about way, brings me back to the subject I was going to write about. My birthday. I turned 55 on Monday. That sounds kind of old, but not nearly as old as when I was 18. I was pretty sure back then that anybody who reached the ripe old age of 50 was destined for a nursing home. I remember having, not only the the audacity but, the impudence of youth when I actually said something along those lines to my mother. I don't think she spoke to me for days. [Now that I understand that she was undoubtedly experiencing her own traumatic aging-related moments, as well as suffering from hormonal mood and temperature-swings, I'm surprised she ever spoke to me again.]
I've been thinking this week, that 60 and 70 and 80 don't really seem all that old to me anymore. There's something to be said for becoming not so young. There's a lady at church who just turned 90 and she still drives. She walks without help and whenever I see her she's got a smile on her face. I don't know the differences in her life and some other 90 year old people I know, but I think attitude must have something to do with the smiling. Sure, I'd rather be younger than I am, in a physical sense, but mostly I'm feeling okay in my own saggy, baggy, stretched out skin.
This birthday was a little quieter than in years past. I've been known to celebrate my birthday for a month at a time. I've been known to wear a birthday button that announces to everyone I come in contact with that it is "MY" day. I've been known to sing my own birthday song; and do my own birthday dance.
In the years when I was too depressed to care what day it was, I felt there was nothing in the world to celebrate, least of all me. I'm grateful today to say that is no longer the case. I believe whole-heartedly in taking one day ( more if you can think up a good excuse) to do nothing other than celebrate the very person you were born to be. The celebration is not so much about the adding of another year, although in the case of the nonagenariens, that's a pretty good accomplishment, it's more about taking stock of all your blessings, hopes, and dreams, then making a wish or two for whatever your heart desires. You don't need a cake with candles, but, hey, everything goes better with cake!
My computer has been broken for three weeks. As the President of DWEM, I'm embarrassed to admit how lost I've been without it. I almost kissed the FedEx Man when he delivered "my baby" back to me in one working piece this morning. I sat down and ran it through all it's paces. I feel like hugging it. I feel like my right arm has been re-attached. When I logged on to my favorite blog, AntiJen, to see what I've missed, to my great surprise and delight, there was a birthday tribute to me. Me! How cool is that? It was kind of like when my mom used to bring cupcakes to school on my birthday. It's a little hard to be the center of attention, but it feels really special at the same time.
I found this poem on the Sandra Magsamen website. It's called Apache Poem, but I think it pretty much covers my birthday/life philosophy:
Smile often. Savor special moments.
Make new friends. Rediscover old ones.
Tell those that you love that you do.
Feel deeply. Forget trouble. Forgive an enemy.
Hope. Grow. Be crazy. Count your blessings.
Observe miracles. Let them happen.
Discard worry. Give. Give in. Trust enough to take.
Pick some flowers. Share them. Keep a promise.
Look for rainbows. See beauty everywhere.
Work hard. Be wise. Try to understand.
Take time for people. Make time for yourself.
Laugh heartily. Spread joy. Take a chance.
Reach out. Let someone in. Try something new.
Sow down. Be soft sometimes.
Believe in yourself. Trust others.
See a sunrise. Listen to the rain. Reminisce.
Cry when you need to. Trust life. Have faith.
Enjoy a wonder. Comfort a friend.
Have good ideas. Gaze at stars.
Make some mistakes. Learn from them.
If it's your birthday, I wish for you that all your dreams come true. If it's not your birthday on the calendar, I believe it can still be your birthday in your heart. So get on with the celebration. Celebrate you!