Happy Birthday!

We recently celebrated Riley’s first birthday. On June 1, Rob will turn 50, and my grandmother will turn 90. I think about the span of these years, almost a hundred years between Riley and her great-great grandmother. Rob is right in the middle. Funny how at the early ages, each year is so eagerly anticipated, and at our point in life, the number becomes something to be joked about, maybe secretly feared, but as much dreaded as celebrated.

Well, I’m all done with that. I can’t turn the clock back, and I don’t even want to. Oh, I wouldn’t mind a discreet nip and tuck in a couple of places, but other than being in need of a bit of cosmetic touch up, I’m beginning to appreciate this stage of life in ways I never anticipated.

I know my skills, my strengths, my good points, my faults. I accept myself, although I am still (as always) seeking to improve. Acceptance doesn’t equal indifference. It just means that I try, fail, try again, and keep smiling.

But perhaps more important, I accept others. Acceptance doesn’t equal approval. But my role in life is not to go about approving of others. My job is to become my best self, and to meet others where they are. My job is to lighten the load where I can, to be salt and light where I can. To bring comfort where I can.

Each of us has a circle of influence and a circle of people we impact. In the sea of humanity, my circle is quite small. My place in life is small. But I can choose to be of value to those in my life. And that’s my goal. I’m excited to have the freedom and flexibility in my life to give, to share, to nurture, to extend myself. At 50, that’s what I celebrate.

At one time, I thought my heart was breaking. But now I find it was breaking open. And that’s a good thing to know, at the ripe old age of 50.

Happy birthday to the lucky ones that have birthdays on the horizon. I’ll never dread another one. That’s a promise I’m making to myself this very day. And if I’m fortunate enough to have my grandmother’s longevity, I’ll count my wrinkles and my days with joy.


  • May 30, 2011, 8:54 pm  Reply

    Thank you, Sheila, for a great message of HOPE!!
    We don’t know what our future holds, but we can know who holds our future – what a fabulous reminder of embracing our lives!

  • May 31, 2011, 5:52 am  Reply

    Your place may be small but I have a feeling your influence is larger than you think … wonderfully thoughtful post.

    Happy day!

  • Ann Clayton
    June 1, 2011, 11:16 am  Reply

    Love this post, Sheila. I’m with you on choosing to let no one rob us of the joy we have in accepting and celebrating each day of life as a gift. Tell Rob Happy Birthday from Doug and me please.

    • June 6, 2011, 9:39 pm

      Thanks for the birthday wishes Ann! It was a fun day and a good experience. We definitely celebrated the day with the big plunge!


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