I have anticipated this day my whole life. Today, I turn 28 on the 28th of May. Today is my golden birthday. I dared not imagine where I’d be at age 28 (perhaps I could have been more daring?), but I was well aware that by this time, I would be a grown-up. And I am, and I am not. I am grown up, and I am growing up.
I am not sure how others perceive the golden birthday: trite or symbolic? Maybe most people born on the 28th grow out of it by the time they reach it. Alas, I did not. For what is life without the little things? The age of 28 holds importance because I’ve bestowed it with importance. I’ve put a diamond ring on this year and declared it exquisite.
As an adult, I find myself oft disappointed in birthdays. I expect to be dazzled by May 28th like I was in my childhood. As a mother especially, I’ve had to accept that my birthday is not all about me. Each year, I tell myself that I will not have expectations, and yet, I can’t quit them. I want my birthday to be filled with delicious treats and special treatment, expected and unexpected surprises.
Some birthdays sparkle and others echo with loneliness and isolation. But not today. This day, golden and glinting and ripe, is not planned exactly, but it is also not unplanned. In the morning, we will cart Emile off to school and Giovanna off to a half-day at preschool. James will stay home from work and we will go for a bike ride. In the afternoon, my family will come over for cake. They will sing and if my mom brings candles, I will make a wish. Along with all of the other wishes I will sprinkle through out the day.
For what are birthdays without wishes?
Today, I am 28, my favorite number, my golden year, and I feel good about it. Optimistic about what lies ahead, grateful for every moment leading up to this one. In commemoration, I will share the 28 greatest lessons I’ve learned in the past 28 years. In other words, the first 28 lessons that come to mind.
In true birthday fashion, I admit I’m doing this more for myself than anyone else. To recall and respect the principles I’ve learned and seek to master, while appreciating that I have so much more to understand, a thousand more directions in which to grow.
1. Never give up. – H.H. The XIV Dalai Lama
2. There’s no direction to move but forward.
3. No man is an island. – John Donne ( Don’t be afraid to ask for help.)
4. You’re not messing up as badly as you think you are. (The kids will be okay.)
5. There is nothing more truly artistic than to love people. – Vincent Van Gogh
6. What other people think about you is none of your business.
7. Life is what you make it. – my grandmother, Lucille Litty Zaller
8. You are exactly where you are supposed to be right now.
9. Do what you love. Lack of passion is fatal.
10. Life is a journey. There are no destinations.
11. When someone goes out of their way to snub you, hold your head high and remember: you can be the bigger person.
12. Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning. – Albert Einstein
13. Know your weaknesses, accept them, and see that you are bigger than them.
14. Make time for your friends. Don’t make time for your non-friends.
15. Creativity is contagious. Pass it on. – Albert Einstein
16. Learn to apologize without hesitation.
17. Indulge mindfully.
18. This, too, shall pass. – Proverb
19. Imagination is more important than knowledge. – Albert Einstein
20. There are two emotions: love and fear. Allow your heart to be ruled by love, not fear.
21. Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted at all.
22. Judge not.
23. All good things are wild and free.- Henry David Thoreau
24. Money is never the bottom line.
25. The truth shall set you free. – Jesus Christ
26. Take care of yourself, or you cannot take care of others.
28. Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a persistent one. – Albert Einstein