Each year, I can count on November 3 being a great day. When I was younger, there were presents and cake, and a lot of singing and hoopla. Everybody loves their birthday when they’re a kid! These days, well, November 3 pretty much hasn’t changed. I still love my birthday and it’s still a celebration (I pity the person who doesn’t love theirs, and I curse the day when I think I’m too old to celebrate mine). After 27 birthdays, I think I’ve finally figured out why I embrace them year after year and try to squeeze the most out of each of them. For me, each birthday is one big “aha moment.”
An “aha moment” is described by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as “a moment of sudden realization, inspiration, insight, recognition, or comprehension.” Aha moments reveal themselves all the time. They can happen while driving, showering, talking on the phone with Mom, listening to a speech, or watching a stranger at the park. They certainly don’t only happen on our birthday. My definition of an aha moment is a brilliant little piece of magic that pops into our mind and get’s you moving in the right direction. Therefore, aha moments are gifts in disguise.
What makes birthdays aha moments to me? For one, I wake up wanting to start off on the right foot. I know today is the day that I’m sort of entering into a new year, and I’m supposed to have gained a little experience from the last go around. I feel insightful, motivated, energized, inspired.
This year was the mother of all years for me feeling wiser and more experienced. I became a homeowner at 26, took a new and great job at 26, launched Positively Smitten (a dream come true) at 26, and discovered many new tidbits about life (dishes and vacuuming are and will always be constant; watching birds from your kitchen window is therapeutic; crockpots are life savers; Sunday evenings are a good time to grocery shop, etc.) and new interests. I also gave up a lot this year, and in the process learned that we can’t really have it all – but would we want to anyways?
During a mind-clearing solitary walk this week, I was thinking about…wait for it…my life. I also was thinking about how I had hoped to have written a novel before my thirtieth birthday. ‘Gee, I better get going on that,’ I thought, before I mentally kicked myself for wanting to do 10 zillion things in my life and setting very short deadlines! I have just over 1,000 days left to make that one happen…
And with novels on my mind, I then realized life is very much like a book. A book doesn’t begin and end on page 1. That would be dreadfully boring and pointless. A book with many chapters makes much more sense, even if (and it usually does) start slow. Characters build in our minds over time. A good book also has suspense and conflict, and it has a climax. The closer you get to the end, the faster you turn the pages because the story has become very exciting. Then, when it’s over, you’re sad that it’s over.
This simple metaphor works for me. I love books and can continue to think about all the ways I really am the author of my own story. I want my life to be a page-turner that can’t be put down – with lots of aha moments – but I’ve got many chapters to go. And then I feel relieved that it’s unlikely that, at 27, I’ve reached the climax.
Happy birthday to me!