Saturday, August 1, 2009

Sixteen candles...and then some!

There are various schools of thought when it comes to birthdays, some of them having a whole lot to do with how old you are. It's always seemed to me that women, especially, make a mistake trying to pass themselves off as being younger than they are. For instance, I look really, really good for eighty. Maybe not so terrific, if I'm trying to get anyone to believe I'm still 40 or even 50.

That said, I've always subscribed to the philosophy that birthdays should be treated as special occasions. Chances are that within your own circle of family and friends, no one shares this same date with you. It's yours, and should be celebrated with all due pomp and ceremony. Maybe that's the only child in me. Or the Leo. Hard to say.

In recent years, however, for one reason or another, every birthday celebration I've planned, whether a trip or just a special outing, has gone awry and had to be cancelled. This year I decided to make up for all those missed opportunities. I've basically been celebrating for most of the entire month of July.

I began by writing as fast as I could to meet every deadline for the three new Sweet Magnolias books to be published next spring. That bought me time off.

Then I arranged for a house in the Outer Banks of North Carolina for a week for me and my Ohio "family," fourteen of us in all, many of whom happen to have birthdays and anniversaries in July. I wasn't sure how well I'd do surrounded by all this commotion -- there were six kids ranging in age from 1 to 14. It was fabulous. I loved every single minute of it, even though I lost countless games of Old Maid, Go Fish, Uno and Scrabble.

This should have been enough celebration even for me, but I decided to throw a party a week later and invited friends from all over. There were 75 people in all, including a few I didn't even recognize who turned out to be friends from childhood I hadn't seen since high school. We had a rock 'n roll band, plenty of food and a whole lot of laughter. I had company off and on for most of a week pre- and post-party.

Needless to say, all of this hoopa came at a cost, and I'm not talking dollars. I'm exhausted. I'm pretty sure every time I've been seated for more than two minutes, I've fallen askeep. It was worth it, though. I've stockpiled a whole bunch of new memories to last till the next milestone comes around.

Bottom line, I highly recommend not waiting for others to plan the celebration of a lifetime. Plan it yourself, whether it's a trip you've been dying to take or a small gathering of family and friends. Don't put it off. No matter how old we may be, we have no way of knowing how many chances we'll have to celebrate the living we've already done. Do it now. You deserve it!



Add to Technorati Favorites