Birthdays when you get older

When you’re young, you celebrate the act of getting older. It’s exciting. You look forward to it.

At 13, you become a teenager. You officially have an obligation to disobey everything your parents tell you.

At 16, you have a huge party and get your driver’s license. Every parent’s nightmare. Every kid’s dream.

At 18, you’re officially an adult. With 21 comes the alcohol. And maybe the last milestone is the car rental privilege at 25.

After that, you dread adding another year to your age. Instead of looking forward to your next birthday, you do everything you can to prevent it from happening. And when you realize it can’t be prevented, you deny it.

The Alternative

Here’s what you should do instead. Celebrate your youth. At 40 years old, you’re not old. You’re mature, you’re experienced. But for many of you, you’re just getting started. Celebrate the relationships you’ve built, and the many fun years ahead. Celebrate your health, and the great shape you’ve kept your body in. Celebrate your mind, what you’ve taught yourself, and how you’ve learned and grown. Celebrate your spouse, your kids, your grandkids.

And maybe the most important thing to celebrate is what you have not yet achieved. Set a goal (or two or three) that feeds your passion. You’ll start looking forward to that extra candle on your cake each year because it will, once again, have meaning.