I passed another milestone last week, and in so doing, found myself reflecting on the past year(s) and wondering what the future holds. Funny (or maybe not so much) how birthdays of my youth were so much more about outward thinking than they are now.

dance on the beach‘What will I get for presents?’

‘Where will I go to party?’

‘Who will party with me?’

‘How many of us will there be?’

Now it’s more about presence than presents. Just being here is pretty special, and that appreciation has led to a whole new variety of questions:

‘Who are the quality people I most want to spend my day with?’

Or . . .

dinner-with-friends-2‘Where can I go on a work night that will allow me to get home at a decent hour and not feel like I danced with a Mack truck?’

That may sound depressing to some, but it’s really not.

I’m blessed to still be here and healthy. No, I’m not old, unless you’re looking at me through the eyes of a child (or a 20 year old birthday girl) but I have reached the age of facing one’s mortality. The newly diagnosed of my generation – close friends among them – seem to be multiplying, and I have learned to appreciate the people I care about with an open heart.

Being long past the age of feeling immortal, and thinking that my generation will last forever, I now make a point of practicing gratitude on a daily basis. True, I’m often too fatigued to fully grab the world by the tail and swing it over my head, anymore, but I do think that I’ve become better equipped at recognizing a decent tail when I see one (mind out of the gutter – I was referring to opportunity).

The key, I’ve discovered, is presence, and I want lots of it. I want it in the conversations I have with friends, the time I spend with family, and the daily task of just being me. I think we should all ask for presence on our birthdays, and we should be generous with it, as it just occurred to me that it’s the present we give ourselves.bday-pic