The exciting yearly event is happening again. My birthday is here. Yes, I still get excited about my birthday. I know I'm supposed to be fearful of getting older and watching myself age. I should be concerned about what life has in store for me. My friends want to know when I plan to get a cat. It seems we have a biological clock for pets too. The problem I have is, I've never been able to keep track of time. I don't always remember how old I am. I only know how I feel.
Most of the time, I feel like an awkward teenager. I remember when I turned sixteen. I thought that magically my body would look beautiful and become sexy overnight. Instead, I woke up and still had the figure of a twelve-year-old. The best part of being a professional belly dancer, for me, was wearing the costume. I had a fantastic shape with the help of a very padded top and a well-placed hip sash. Once I put on my t-shirt and jeans, I went back to looking like a pre-teen.
I still haven't understood the meaning of "act your age." When I'm with my seven-year-old nephew, all I want to do is play. We run around and act out scenes from Star Wars. He's a big Darth Vader fan. We do our best to destroy the rebels and have lightsaber fights. We turn on music and dance. We run around on the beach in search of aliens, and I enjoy every minute of it. I don't think about being fifty-seven. I think those aliens are around here, somewhere, and we will find them.
My dad once told me that women don't give out their age. He wanted to know why I tell people how old I am when they ask me. I said, "Well, I'm happy with all that I've accomplished and gone through to get to where I am today. I want credit." He laughed and said he never thought of it that way.
Of course, looking in the mirror reminds me of how old I am. Luckily, I don't carry my reflection around with me. My birthday always gives me a sense of hope of what the year has in store for me. I'm disappointed my plans for traveling and celebrating with friends have been canceled this year because of the pandemic. Still, I'm grateful that we have technology that will let us visit even if it's virtual.
The good thing about getting older is knowing that we can't predict the future, but we can still try to make the best of a bad situation. I've learned we have a choice in deciding our mindset. I believe a positive attitude is just as simple as having a negative one. That doesn't mean I don't fall into despair when I watch the news. I get angry and upset, and I worry about my family and friends. I remind myself to breathe and focus on the present. I take time to list all that I'm grateful for, and staying mindful puts me back on track. It's not always easy, but I've found it's worth the effort.
Age helps us mark the time we've been living on this planet, but I believe we are infinite. We're made up of energy and energy can't be destroyed. I think we're here to learn compassion and empathy. We're connected, and the more we understand that, the more we grow our humanity. We're here to find enlightenment and love unconditionally.
The time I have on this planet, I will use my power for good. Unless, of course, I have to put down a threat from the rebel resistance. My little Darth Vader and I will do our best to protect the dark side from the tricky Jedi. In the meantime, I wish everyone a joyful and happy birthday!