What makes a perfect birthday for you? I think it depends partly on one’s age. Recently I hit one in the mid ‘60’s, not a milestone, just a day—but it turned out perfect. Perfect for me means lasts a long time and includes friends, fun and fecundity/productivity. (Hard to find that last “F” that meant what I wanted to say!
Tidbits of advice that jumped out at me from emails, Twitter and Facebook that day:
- Challenges are what make life interesting. Overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.
- Stay true to yourself and don’t be invisible after sixty!
- Everyone dies, but not everyone really lives!
- Being holy means being whole.
- Two things define you: Your patience when you have nothing, and your attitude when you have everything.
- “Only one page is left in the book of my life. His name fills that page, His everlasting kingdom.”—Rumi
- “I encourage you to bear witness to Christ in your personal life and families: a witness of gratuitousness, solidarity, spirit of service.”—Pope Francis
- “I wish faith wrapped you in a bubble, but it doesn’t, not for long.”—Anne Lamott
- Recognize the good in your life.
- Live every day as if it’s your last, embracing each experience as if it’s your first.
And a great question: “What is on your happiness list?”
The birthday started a couple weeks early with a lunch with a friend who was going on an extended vacation. The actual day started at 3:15am when my trusty guide dog announced she needed to go out. It was so still out at that time it was almost beautiful and it wasn’t precipitating. Luckily we could both sleep in a bit. Work for the day included advocating for Freading to be made usable with Voiceover. The company had blown me off with “thanks for your idea”, so I got the library’s accessibility officer to contact them. I wonder if he’ll be blown off as quickly since it’s libraries that purchase Freading so their customers can download electronic books on demand. Then I did some work on an upcoming talk for student members of the Society for Human Resource Management. Many of them have heard my basic talk in a business diversity class, so I’ll call it Disability 2.0 and hit some of the same core points but do it differently. Basic points:
- Go out of your comfort zone.
- Treat those of us with disabilities as equal to you but not the same.
- Ask “how can I help?”
- Enjoy figuring out what needs to be different like solving a puzzle, not like a chore.
Then lunch with a friend, a nap, two hours of reading (to get bills tended to, birthday cards read and inaccessible chores on the computer completed). I emailed the inaccessible sites about what they need to do to become more accessible (basically get rid of CAPTCHAS). The day wrapped up with supper with friends and settling down to finish The Martian. I even got to start a book for next Tuesday’s book club: The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson. Maybe it’ll inspire me to strive to be 100!
The birthday month will rock along with a few more meals with friends already on the schedule and other unknown blessings. Savor the joy when your birth day/month comes along!