Monthly Archives: March 2014

Are you a windshield or a rear view mirror type?

I had a birthday last week.  Not a hallmark year just a regular garden variety getting older year.  I celebrated surrounded by family. My favorite way to spend an evening, birthday or not.

I would venture to say, no one loves their birthday more than I do.  Especially no adult I know.  I have always loved it. My kids tease that I have a “birthday eve” and a “birthday week”  and we talk about it for days before the actual event.

I don’t love my birthday for the gifts and the cake and the special attention but for the fact that it’s just my day. A day where I kick back and let whatever happens come without my planning and stewing and most of all, me not controlling any of it.  It doesn’t matter if it rains or snows or is dark or bleak or cold.  My birthday always feels warm and full of love and I am happy.

But this year–I am sure you could feel me inching toward an epiphany–my birthday was different.  First of all, it was the number.  Not a bad one, and we all are thankful for every year we reach in good health and have those we love here to celebrate another year together.

It was just the number that jolted me into the realization that I have lived more decades than I have to look forward to.  I don’t feel like I am peddling along in the middle of the pack anymore, but drifting back toward the group that gets the applause just for finishing.

I don’t mean this in a “woe is poor little me” sort of way but more as a shift in my perspective that “tempus is fugitting” faster than I am peddling and it is time to realize, if I ever am going to, that these really are the days to make each moment count.

What is becoming increasingly more poignant to me is something my father said to me before he died. He was a good Christian, church every Sunday kind of guy who never strayed from the straight and narrow and dutifully did eveything with the best of intentions and a clean conscience.  If anyone was going to walk through the Pearly Gates with no questions asked , it was Dad.  But in spite of that, I’m sure he was just a little unsettled about that huge unknown of what really happens after all this.

He looked at me one of the last times I saw him before he died and said, “I just don’t want to miss how it all turns out.”

And now twelve years later, I know exactly what he meant.  If I do the math, I will be using a walker when my oldest grandson graduates from college and will definitely need assistance getting into the stands when his younger brother plays fullback or goalie for the Hawks.

I know Matthew McConaughey has gotten some flack for his Oscar acceptance speech, but I liked it, rambly and slightly egotistical as it was. (Or maybe I am just a sucker for a hot guy in a white dinner jacket.) But what I saw and heard in him on that stage was a man hitting his stride and spouting out some pretty good goals.

“Someone to look up to.  Something to look forward to.  Someone to chase.”

Until now, I have always been a rear view mirror sort of girl.  Living in the now but always second guessing my decisions and the  paths I took to get here. Letting my regrets and “what ifs” overshadow some of the best “nows” that were sitting in my lap. So I am hoping to take this little meaningless number birthday and try to switch my perspective from looking backward to forward. Only.

As for who I look up to, that would have to be my children. They are all taking brave paths with confidence and determination I either didn’t have or lacked the chutzpah to exercise.

And with or without that walker, I’m going to chase this little dream of being a published author some day.

And my grandsons while they still squeal with joy when I catch them.