Today is the day that I turn 25, a number that sounds much higher and more audacious than my humble 24.
I’ve always loved birthdays, although I have to admit, my enthusiasm for them has begun to trickle off in the past few years.
It’s not that I don’t like birthdays… because I am game for any excuse for a celebration. But it’s hard to be excited for something that everyone else dreads.
We’re nearing that point where growing older is no longer something to celebrate, but something to dread. As if the entrance of one more day leads to the exit of beauty, youth, and the possibility of a full, vibrant life.
Now here’s the thing…
This makes me mad.
It makes me mad in the same way that it used to when college graduates would tell me to enjoy what I had and to stay in school forever. What did they want me to do? Never graduate? That would be a really fun way to celebrate a 50th birthday – I’d simultaneously be celebrating my 27th year of college. Give me a few more decades and I could pull out my dentures as a party trick.
It makes me mad because in telling me that, they were telling me to run away from the inevitable. Dreading age is like fighting against gravity – it’s just not a battle we’re going to win.
And so that leaves us with a few choices.
The first is to hate growing older. We can spend time looking at the wrinkles of our skin and crying over them for the next 60 years. We can dread each birthday, as if that’s going to stave off the passing of the time. We can refuse to celebrate — hoping that if we don’t acknowledge our day, it will be like it never happened.
The second option is to give up. I can’t help but get older, so what are my other options? If life is just going to get worse, what’s the point?
Are you hoping for another option? Yea… me too.
The third option is to celebrate — to be grateful for every single year and the beautiful blessings that it contained. We could pop open the champagne and kiss our loved ones and dance until the sun comes up, and we could do that for the rest of our lives. We could celebrate, with full gratitude, the fact that we got to live on this beautiful earth for one more year – something that is never a guarantee.
And we could allow people to celebrate with us. We could allow the people that love us to surround us, kissing us and showering us with their love, reminding us – again and again – that we matter.
Proverbs 16:31 says, “Grey hair is a crown of splendor. It is attained by a life of righteousness.”
And I love that idea.
Getting older is a privilege denied to many. Reaching the point of having grey hair and wrinkles is a gift – it means we had a full life, a long time to do beautiful and wonderful things with beautiful and wonderful people.
And so instead of focusing on reversing time, I want to focus on spending it well.
I’ve lived 25 amazing years and I want to spend the rest of them well – whether I get two, twenty, or two hundred. I want to earn my grey hair and wrinkles—living life hard and wringing out all of the beauty and the laughter it has to offer.
I’m refusing, right now, today, to allow age to be my enemy. Instead, I’m deciding that it’s a gift.
Each stage of life has something beautiful in it, if we only cultivate the eyes to see it. I can do things at 25 that I was only dreaming of when I was 20. At 20, I was able to live a life that would have made my 16-year-old self green with envy.
I am choosing to believe that every year gets better – that each stage of life is better than the last and that it’s only uphill from here – with each day unfolding more beautifully than the last.
So here I am, 25 and ready for an even better year than the last.
85… I’m coming for you, and if I’m lucky, I’m going to be wrinkly and fabulous when I arrive.
(Photo with the pink balloons taken by the lovely Lacee Peloquin)