Today’s National Lorna Tedder Appreciation Day!
It’s my birthday and what am I thinking about? Bella. Bella from Stephenie Meyer’s vampire series that began with Twilight, a title which is still bizarre to me since Maggie Shayne wrote a few dozen vampire novels with twilight in the title and with a very strong following for her books well in advance of Bella and Edward. Throughout the series, Bella annoys me with her perpetual fear of getting another year older. Yep, even at 17, she’s dreading her birthdays. She wants to be a vampire and immortally beautiful and forever a teenager. Ouch…personally, being forever a teenager sounds a little like hell to me, but I can be a good student of Coleridge and suspend my disbelief every now and then.
My point is, it seems so freaking silly that a girl the age of my younger daughter would fear a birthday. And yet, how many grown women (and occasionally men) do I know who hide their birthdays, insist they won’t have any more, as if a birthday is something to fear or dread? They insist on ignoring their birthdays, insist on no parties or acknowledgment. The very idea of a birthday seems to give them stomach ulcers. Shoot, pick whatever age you want to be and call the number a number and move on, but don’t not celebrate!
Birthdays are a time of assessment and celebration. This year, it’s my
best birthday ever and it’s going to be an even better year that last year or the year before. Sure, I’d prefer to have the body I had when I was 32–svelte and sculpted– but honestly, I wasn’t as comfortable with my body, my sexuality, or myself then. I was also on the fast track in my Federal career, had two small children, a blossoming writing career, a husband, and all the things that were considered the American dream–but I was also stressed to the point of frequent chest pains. Where I am now is comfortable, happy, healthy, and more in the moment than I have ever been in my life. I don’t necessarily have all the things that some people think are indicators of happiness but that’s what other people need to be happy, not me. Or feel they need. Life is good. Really good. Not without occasional problems, but really good still.
I’ve never been one to be so much “in the moment” as I am now, but I am at peace with the past, enjoying the present, and looking forward to the future. With this birthday, I am completely confident in who I am and what I want. There is no ache to this year’s birthday because of what I’ve lost or whom I haven’t brought forward into the present with me. This year, I celebrate myself for who I am and for being happy with myself and the life I’ve built, and I appreciate myself.
So I’m not hiding from my birthday this year (I never have). Instead, I am enjoying it–just as I intend to enjoy every day of this coming year.
Besides, I’m already immortal.