It's my birthday today.
And I opened the day with this status:
It's my birthday! Hallelujah for another birthday! I am one year closer to my 2 pm glass of wine and nap! One year closer to wearing hats every day (that aren't ball caps). One year closer to being able to say, "I'm old, I've earned the privilege of being irascible, now sod off!" which has a dual purpose of play on words: "take a hike" and "get off my lawn." Also it will force the Autocorrect Generation to go look up a word. HEH!
I am truly grateful to get to celebrate another birthday. My 40s have turned into a time of watching friends with major health crises and losing friends way too young. Each week, it seems, someone else gets struck by cancer. My body has turned into a habitable inn for skin cancer, aches, pains, fat cells, and other things I don't enjoy playing host to, but they are minor inconveniences I can work around. They do not take over my internal space like a garrisoning invading army.
And so I am grateful.
Grateful this birthday is one more for me, one more for my family. A day to celebrate, instead of miss. Lucky. So, so lucky.
A friend sent me a birthday wish with the joke, "28 again I assume!"
It has been many years, more than a baker's dozen, since I've been 28. So I cheekily replied, "I don't mind admitting I am over 40 but I also don't mind admitting I like hearing I look 28 while doing it!"
Birthdays are for fun like that.
For more fun, my husband took off the day from work and we had a leisurely lunch at a lovely bayside restaurant we would not usually go to, with the kids, especially. It was decadent. We had four courses -- appetizer, salad, entree and dessert. (See the above photo for the view.)
I made a pledge this year--a birthday wish if you will. It came from kind over matter and it resonated beautifully with some ideas that had been free forming in my mind. So I wrote this:
You who know me well know I truly believe this: I cannot believe that the purpose of life is to be "happy." I think the purpose of life is to be useful, to be responsible, to be compassionate. It is, above all, to matter and to count, to stand for something, to have made some difference that you lived at all. — Leo C. Rosten
I wanted to find a simple action I could take to fulfill this in a tangible way as well as continuing to work to fulfill it in myriad other ways. I thought of cards.
I have always enjoyed writing, and sending cards with personal messages to friends. Recently, two things reminded me of how important this is: my merciful visit to Chi-Town and this card from my friend Maggie:
I was so pleased to receive something nice like this in the mail. I know how much effort it takes to do a real card, old-fashioned way, and I was overjoyed to have merited just that little extra thought and effort. It made me feel this sense of value and friendship. Combine that with my new commitment to hand writing things to connect better with them as thoughts, and you had a pledge.
I want to take the time--and let's not get crazy with this, so say one a month at least, at the start, maybe on the 1st of the month--to handwrite and mail a card with a friendly message inside to someone.
That takes a good pen (oh yea! an excuse to go pen shopping) and stationary.
Luckily, Tiny Prints came along with a cause that I believe in: More Birthdays...and less cancer.
They are now printing these gorgeous More Birthday cards from the incredible artists who submitted designs. Check them out:
I've already ordered a full set. If you'd like one, email me your address. J pippert at gmail dot com. It doesn't have to be for a birthday, by the way. It can be for any reason, any day.
And in advance...happy birthday.
A few details about this program:
The American Cancer Society believes that every birthday is a victory – another year that cancer has not won. Thanks in part to the Society’s cutting-edge scientific research, patient support, and prevention, education, and advocacy efforts, 11 million cancer survivors will celebrate another birthday this year.
Tiny Prints – an online stationary boutique – is fighting for more birthdays with an exclusive card collection on TinyPrints.com that is inspired by all of the ways the American Cancer Society saves lives.
The card collection features the inspired artwork of the American Cancer Society’s more birthdays artists, such as Am I Collective, Andrew Bannecker and Create More Birthdays Contest winner, Marilyn Brown.
From now until April 30, 2012, the Tiny Prints more birthdays card collection will be available at their site.
This sponsored post was written in conjunction with the American Cancer Society/Tiny Prints card collection launch. All content and opinions expressed here are my own.