That’s the premise behind this year’s Birthday Musings post. I’m a little late this year, because I’ve been occupied; each month this year has seen me busy with something, and my mental health advocacy efforts have had to take a backseat.
I’m also starting to ponder the future of this blog. I feel as though I write, but no one reads? Or perhaps 1 or 2 people read it. I’m not looking for validation, but I am wondering if there is a more effective platform for my efforts.
In any case, I decided that I’ll write when inspiration strikes and when I have time.
And inspiration struck thanks to the circumstances surrounding my recent birthday.
Slightly over a week before my actual birthday, my mother had to be emergency hospitalised.
Needless to say, during the nine days of her stay, I was worried, especially in the 1st week when she had to undergo a couple of surgical procedures, one under general anaesthesia. Not something to be taken lightly for a 73-year-old with heart issues, diabetes and kidney failure.
Now, I am not going to detract from the point of this article by giving a deep dive on what was done, how ill she is and all the issues that plague her.
Celebrating the one life you have.
Instead, I wish to focus on the idea Celebrating Life, even when everything around us is going to crap.
We’ve all felt this, I am sure.
- Feeling bad that we’re out wining and dining with friends when there are people who can barely afford to eat?
- Or getting excited to get out of your country for a vacation when hundreds of thousands of people are being forced to evacuate theirs?
- Or happily celebrating your birthday and sharing it on social media when, well, the world just seems to have gone to shits and is it insensitive to show off photos of your latest staycation?
Well, I did feel a few pangs of guilt but I managed them thanks to the power of meditation and mindfulness.
I’m a proponent of daily meditation, so, on my birthday, I intentionally searched for a Birthday meditation and found a few that spoke about the concept of Celebrating Life.
I’m guessing you may know of many adults who shy from making a big deal about their birthday as they age, but listening to the meditations, I am all the more convinced that birthdays should be celebrated, no matter the age.
Birthdays are special. This is the day that you were given life.
Some are blasé about birthdays. Maybe they think it’s gauche or childish to make a fuss about it.
I’m not saying a big party or fancy travels are the only way to mark the occasion. I’m saying, even doing something, no matter how individual or small to recognise the date, is great.
- Feeling inspired to wake up early enough to catch a sunrise? Why not.
- Feeling like all you want to do is shut the world out and curl up with Netflix? Why not.
- Feeling like volunteering at a charity? Why not!
Mindfully recognising the glory of the day, the moment that you were given this opportunity to be part of this world (no matter how shit it may seem right now) is a sure-fire booster shot of gratitude.
And we all know that gratitude allows us to appreciate what we have which, if you ask me, is a powerful way to feel empathy for those around us who are in pain without drowning in their suffering.
Spin out of guilt and worry, no more.
I would like to think that empathy is in most of us and it is in our nature to want to help, in some form or other. The danger is when we get too caught up, absorb others’ problems without being able to manage our own well-being.
My advice here? Sure, feel the feelings of worry, guilt, whatever they may be. But break out of the cycle by taking positive actions to help, within your means and with a keen eye on your own well-being, of course. Do something about it instead of absorbing others’ pain and spinning in circles.
We do what we can, and then we must do what we can to take care of ourselves. That is the power of positive actions and personifies the idea of Celebrating Life, in my opinion.
And which better day to Celebrate Life than your birthday? So, whether your special day has passed or is coming up, no matter the drama, the pain, the problems that are surrounding you, I hope you do something special to mark the moment.
Every breath is a gift. We never know when our last one will be. So never feel bad about Celebrating Life!