“It’s my birthday and I’ll _______ if I want to”
See the blank? I get to fill it today. I know the song says “cry” but I don’t feel like crying. With all the caffeine I had this morning, I feel like flying. Actually, that would be awesome…except I’m a scaredy cat.
My husband went sky diving once and loved it. He was all jacked up on adrenaline. I was happy for him but it’s not for me.
My friend asked me today if I was excited it was my birthday. It reminded me of something.
When I turned 6, I memorized a poem by A.A. Milne. Here it is and here’s me at six!
When I was one, I had just begun.
When I was two, I was nearly new.
When I was three, I was hardly me.
When I was four, I was not much more.
When I was five, I was just alive.
But now I am six. I’m clever as clever. I think I’ll stay six now forever and ever.
I used to run around reciting that one. Obviously, I did not stay six forever and ever. And I haven’t used the word clever since then.
So, in honor of today, I’d like to offer some new thoughts.
Our life’s work is like building a tree. (Stick with me here, I’m working up to something.)
Childhood is the trunk of the tree. It takes years to build a steady, solid base. The trunk has nicks and cuts on it, it is bruised and worn in parts but it is strong. “That which doesn’t kill us makes us stronger” really makes sense thinking of it this way. These are the years we build our character.
Young adulthood is where we build the branches. Each one jutting out in a different direction based on what we choose. The branches represent school, dating, marriage, children, career, friendships, faith, and passions. Each individual tree is shaped differently based on our lives. Please note, in this young adult area, we may build some branches that need to be pruned later. Just sayin…
When we are in our 40’s and 50’s, we add the leaves. We beautify the tree. We add leaves and flowering buds with our works of charity, our loving, our volunteering, our parenting, our guidance, our accomplishments, our listening, our understanding, our wisdom. Again, some branches may remain empty depending on our mood when someone asks us to volunteer. I can just picture it now…my beautiful tree and on the branch that says, PTA, it’s void of any life…not even a bud.
This is the stage where we accept that our tree does not look the same as everyone else’s and we embrace it. We may even try to stand apart by adding a swing or a hammock. We may get really crazy and offer ourselves up for a tree house! We laugh more, accept more, embrace more…we get comfortable.
When we are in our 60’s and above, we enjoy the tree. We can still add if we want to but by now, we have a beautiful, joyful, nurturing, protecting, loving tree. We are content to sit in the shade it provides or to lay on the hammock it holds or to swing on its swing. We have built something real, something solid, something sacred.
If we are lucky and God grants us the gift of more birthdays…we can enjoy the tree for many years. We can continue pruning (getting rid of the rotten buds like anger or resentment or regret) and taking care of it (with love and gratitude) so we can leave something beautiful and life giving for future generations.
So, back to the question…am I excited about another birthday? Heck yes! I’m getting closer to the part where I lay in the hammock.
Life is good.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
– Jeremiah 29:11
©2012 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™ All Rights Reserved
photo of tree with swing by brittlift.blogspot.com
photo of me at 6 courtesy of my mom 🙂