By Amy Selwyn
This week, I will celebrate my 57th birthday. And you know what? I’m excited about it, and I like it!
It wasn’t always like this. In fact, in the spirit of true confession and full transparency, it has never been like this before.
Up until recently, I have dreaded the aging process. I’ve worried about what I have missed, what I won’t have, what I won’t have again, what I might not ever have, what might happen, what might not happen… down, down, down that rabbit hole of worry and regret and yuck.
But this year I feel like, Wow, I’m turning 57 and that is a big number. It’s getting bigger every year!
In honor of this big day, I sat down and wrote out 57 things I now know to be true. If I’m lucky and I get to 58 next year, I’ll add another observation to the list. I’ll keep going for as long as I keep going. Aimin’ for a long, long list.
I bet I could come up with at least another 20 or 30 observations. But I told myself I’d just write the first 57 that came to mind (see my list).
I’ve knocked around this zoo for a pretty long time at this point. I’d say, hand on heart, that I am truly more comfortable in my own skin than I’ve ever been in my entire life. Because I want so much less. It’s this formula of inversions: minimize to maximize.
Lots of people I know speak openly (and bravely) about how much they dread the passage of time. I get it. Maybe they worry about whether they’ll get to fit it all in—the experiences, the relationships, the travel, the books, the concerts, the walks, the coffee, the craft beers, whatever—in the time they have left. I dunno. Nobody knows, not even people who are given some kind of heads up on the amount of time remaining. We just don’t know when it will all end. Yikes, this sounds maudlin. Okay, moving on…
Given the vagaries of mortality, maybe the key is letting go of expectation to the fullest extent possible. Simply saying, This is where I am now. There are things I hope I get to see and do, sure. But in this right now, here is what there is to appreciate. It is huge. It is amazing. Or maybe it’s small and delightful. Or just pleasing. Or just kinda okay. Okay is good. Really.
The point is, it is enough. I am enough. I am alive. And it’s going to be my birthday. I am going to eat some cake and I’m going to blow out some candles. This is a plan. It’s an awesome one.
Getting older does not suck.
Amy Selwyn is a writer and the co-founder and principal of Storytegic. This article originally appeared in The Huffington Post and has been reprinted with permission from the author.