By Dosi Cotroneo
The recent passing of yet another birthday got me to thinking - thinking about life, how quickly time is passing, and how it is about time we celebrate each birthday with joy rather than worrying about the “dreaded” aging process. In this world of Botox, fillers and plastic surgery, many fear the passing of time and its effects on their skin. For those who are out there standing in front of their mirrors right now, examining their pores and wrinkles, I have news for you: “Youth cannot be captured in at the plastic surgeon’s office, just as time cannot be captured at the watch or clock shop. “
This may sound bizarre, but I have always looked forward to my birthdays, and must confess, I was probably as excited for my 48th this month, as I was for my eighth. Sounds silly to some, but for me, I live for any reason to celebrate. Yes, it can get annoying for my family, my two older sisters in particular, especially when they are reminded some two months in advance about my impending celebrations. No matter how much they may frown and complain, I am grateful that I miraculously inherited the optimist gene from some relative way down the Italian family tree. I ask you: why can’t people look towards each birthday as a gift in itself? You are alive another whole year – you get to eat cake, blow out candles, and if you get presents.
This enthusiastic outlook towards birthdays and aging resonated deeply during the recent funeral service of one beautiful young man, whose life tragically ended at the age of 22. I found myself asking the dreaded question “why?” Why a healthy young person, who was a joy to be around, happy, and so full of life, while debilitated unhealthy, unhappy, despondent adults are sitting in hospitals and nursing homes just waiting for their turn to go? Sadly, this question has no answer, not while we are here and they are there, but someday, I am optimistic that we will know why.
In the meantime, I plan to celebrate not only my birthdays and the birthdays of my beloved family and friends, but every day for that matter. In fact, what if we paused for a second now and then to think about how about how every second, minute, and hour is a gift - even those seconds and minutes that feel like hours when we are stuck in traffic, trapped in the dentist’s chair, or in the midst of yet another very long, drawn out boring conversation with somebody sitting next to you with horrendously bad breath? Hard to imagine, but if we really dissect time into microcosms of gratitude rather than a culmination of complaints about wrinkles, cellulite, the falling markets, traffic, in-laws, reality t.v., and the government, etc., people just may learn to feel happier, maybe even healthier, hence maybe even living longer.
So the next time you hear someone saying, “oh no, another birthday, I’m getting old” remind them of how blessed they are for being granted the gift of more time - more time to laugh, more time for family, more time for friends, more time to pursue those dreams. Now that’s something to celebrate.