Tomorrow is my 43rd birthday. I love birthdays! Getting older doesn’t bother me - I think it’s a privilege. I actually like myself and my life more each year. But time does fly, doesn’t it? Seems like yesterday that I was saying I was turning 40. And the day before that I was having my daughter, who will be 10 this summer.
Things change. In fact, they change every day. Or more like every second. Just yesterday at church I was reminded that every 7-10 years, our bodies and our cells completely regenerate themselves. Isn’t that interesting? Every 7 years we are a completely “new” person.
Dr. Wayne Dyer, one of my favorite teachers, authors, and deep-thinkers puts it this way:
“This strange phenomenon of you being an I that continuously enters, discards, and reenters a new body has proceeded right up until this very moment.
I am currently in a 70-year-old body that’s nothing like the body I occupied 50 years ago. I remember well what that 20-year-old body I occupied looked like, what it could do, and what it knew and didn’t know, but I can’t find it anywhere – it’s simply an illusion. It is gone from this physical world, as is every body that both you and I have occupied in our lifetime.
The physical body that you think of as you is rearranged in a pattern designed by a formless intelligence independent of your opinions. This I that you use to describe yourself isn’t the physical form that you occupy and take with you everywhere. Quantum physics states that the body you’re occupying, which is reading this paragraph right now, is completely different from the body you were in when you read the previous paragraph. Such is the nature of the physical world in which we all live.
The ancient philosopher Heraclitus put it this way several thousand years ago, and it is true today: “All things are in motion and nothing is at rest… You cannot go into the same [river] twice.” A river is a constantly changing phenomenon, as is a tree, a mountain, a goat, a human, and the physical universe including Earth. That which defines a thing, therefore, is not physical in nature; it is metaphysical. When asked “What is real?” an ancient spiritual avatar responded without hesitation, “That is real which never changes.” And since your body is in a continuous state of change, it is not real.
If you try to find that toddler body you once occupied, you realize that it is not real, since it no longer exists. Even while you were in it years ago, you couldn’t call it real, because the moment you pinpointed and defined it as real, it would be something else, something new. What you’re calling real would already have disappeared. Still, you know with all of this change taking place that there is a changeless component to who you are. The I in that toddler body hasn’t changed, it is in the body that you currently occupy. The I is your higher self, changeless and real. This higher self is who you are. When you make this discovery and consciously befriend the I you are, nothing is impossible.”
I had a big Ah Ha moment about this idea from Dr. Dyer a year or two ago watching him on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday. And though I had never been bothered by age, probably because neither of my parents ever have been, this gave me a whole new understanding of myself and my life. It helped me realize even more what is important in life and why I like myself more with each passing day.
We are not our bodies. Change is inevitable. Things come and things go. But the whole point of life, I think, is living our purpose and finding joy. Both of these things I have. I am grateful for my life at 43. I am exactly where I am meant to be.
We can strive to have the perfect body only to find with time it will change – a little bigger here, a little smaller there – and not of our doing. But our bodies don’t define us, our actions do.
We can go through life striving to “reach success” but what we know and what we think success is, doesn’t exactly exist. It’s why people say “enjoy the journey” or “happiness is the journey, not the destination.” We can only base what we think success will be on what we have experienced in our past. And as the quote by Heraclitus reminds us, all the things we know are ever changing. “We can never go back to the same river twice.” Profound, isn’t it? Success likely won’t look like what we think it will.
All we have is right now. In the body we were given. All we can do is cherish each moment, because in a blink those moments will be only a memory. All we can do is find happiness and joy today. Tomorrow is a gift but not a given.
So on this eve of my 43rd year, I am cherishing moments including the moment that I am 43. Because before long, I won’t be any longer. I will age, my family will grow older, too. And it is most important to me that I imprint where we all are in this moment on my mind. I love and hold dear the moments that happen each year of my life in a special place in my heart and my mind, for I can never truly experience those exact moments again. They are special. They are unique. They are fleeting.
I hope you will cherish each and every moment too. They are ours alone. No one else experiences a moment or time exactly as we do. And it is ok to strive to be better, and healthier, and more accomplished each year. But only if you remember those are not the things that truly bring you joy. Joy is found in the present moment. If you cannot be content in your body, and your age, and your life…no amount of achievement will make that so.
Thanks for sharing my birthday with me friends. My birthday wish for myself and also for each of you this year is this…
I wish us enough sun to keep our attitudes bright
I wish us enough rain to appreciate the sun more
I wish us enough happiness to keep our spirits alive
I wish us enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger
I wish us enough gain to satisfy our wanting
I wish us enough loss to appreciate all that we possess
I wish us enough Hello’s to get us through our final good-bye’s.
And I wish us a life that is long and healthy, full of love and joy and a cake big enough to fit all our candles!
P.S. Today’s photos are just a few of my most favorite experiences and moments with family and friends over the last 12 months captured on Instagram.