I spend most of my days with children. Some days I am with children who are functional. Other days I am with children who function differently. Society has lots of labels for this second set, labels that are mostly polite ways for saying they are damaged. We live in a world where broken-ness is not tolerated. Instead it is something to be defined, analysed and fixed. This is fairly easy to do when you wear your damage at a surface level – when the way you walk or talk or behave is clearly different from the way everyone else does. But what about when your malfunction is not on the surface? What about what your broken-ness is so deep inside that no one can see it? Or so deeply woven into who you are that you don’t realize it is broken-ness until you try to untangle the reasons you behave the way you do?
Okay, so it’s not my birthday today. It was actually last Thursday that I officially increased a year in age. But I have to say this has been my best birthday in a while. Usually I spend my birthday super quietly, on my own. I don’t tell people about it, and I breathe in the ‘joy’ of getting older in solace. This year, it was still pretty low-key, however I did allow myself the company of close friends and family. There are a few things I have learned through this birthday however that I want to share:
1. It’s not the quantity of friends you have, but the quality
As I get older I realize that I don’t have the whole swath of friends I had in my high school, college and early adult days. In fact, my friend pool has condensed down to a few. But the few that I have are people I really love, people I want to be with, and people with whom I have a mutual understanding. That is more priceless than I ever realized.
2. Family rocks
Family have always been an essential part of my life. In fact, in terms of priorities, it has always been God first, family next and everything else after. However, as I get older the value of my family, who make me laugh, cry, scream and sometimes do all three at the same time, has sky rocketed. After all, when you’re old, they’re the difference between nurse-like care and nursing home.
3. Its easier to be honest
I have always admired the way elderly people say whatever they want without caring much what people think of them. I don’t think I am totally there yet, but I am learning that it is easier to be yourself, say what you want, and like what you want (and who you want) without apology than trying to fit into other people’s perception of who you should be. At the end of the day, the people in #1 & #2 will accept you regardless, and that’s all that matters.
And that’s my birthday wisdom for 2013. What have you learnt on your birthday?
I am a strong proponent of minding your own business. There is no quicker way to stir up some drama than by offering up your opinion where it wasn’t asked for. The problem comes however when someone directly asks for your opinion. I found myself in this precarious position some time ago while sitting with a friend in KFC. Continue reading
I am a source girl.
I need to know where things come from. If I am eating a meal, I prefer to know who cooked it. I regularly ruin the ending of movies for myself by checking the synopsis on Wikipedia. And when it comes to books and music, especially gospel music I have to know the story. Sometimes however, knowing the story changes how much I like the music.