Every Day is My 5th Birthday
As children our birthdays are usually annual celebrations planned for us by our parents or other loved ones. But as we grow older, we start to decide how and when we will celebrate this special occasion and mostly design our celebrations around the things that make us happy.
As a teenager and young adult, my “Born Day” celebrations were usually spent with family and friends celebrating my accomplishments of the past year, sharing funny (and some not so funny) stories of things I had said, did or had plans to do. But as I got older, I realized that there weren’t many fun, adventurous things or accomplishments that I chose to share, mostly because of the reactions I now received or the need that some had for telling me how I should live and what I should be doing with my life. Birthday celebrations became something that were no longer fun to share with loved ones.
Several years ago, as I was approaching the big 45 and reflecting on prior birthday celebrations, I thought about the one that had brought me the most joy. My fifth birthday. I celebrated that year with my kindergarten class, and my teacher, Ms. Geary. There was food, fun and laughter, but most of all we were carefree. We played several games, but I still remember the most special one. It was called “Show me, Tell me, How do you feel?” We were free to act out and speak about our feelings; our true selves, without any judgment or ridicule. Each person was applauded for being an individual with their own thoughts and feelings. No two acts were the same. We all understood and loved what it felt like to be ourselves…without imitating anyone else. As I was reflecting, it saddened me to realize that for me those liberating feelings had gotten lost… buried in the past, but it was one of the greatest lessons I would ever learn. I know it to be the same for some of my former classmates as well. As we grew older, we had stopped being so carefree, self-expressive and unconcerned about the judgment and opinions of others. But had we remembered and continued to “play” by the rules of that special game, there would have been more fun, more adventure, more risk taking and less caring about what others thought or said. I personally would have valued myself more, made better decisions, celebrated more of my accomplishments, big and small and celebrated my birthday with a new circle of loved ones.
At age 5, I had no idea the significance this game would play in MY life, but things have changed drastically for me. You see, I have started following those rules again. And although it was 40 years after my first 5th birthday it still was not too late to pick up where I left off.
I have decided that my celebrations will not only be reserved for the day I was born. God gives me gifts every single day…the freedom to be me EVERY DAY…to be accomplished and to celebrate and share my accomplishments with whomever I choose. Why should I reserve celebration for just one day? I will not! I will celebrate like it is my 5th birthday everyday for the rest of my life.
Four years ago, I was having so much fun with my celebrations that I decided to share my “5th Birthday” revolution with the “Share the Light” mentoring group that I lead for a group of ladies and one gentleman (70 years young).
One Wednesday evening as each of the participants entered the room I greeted them with “Happy Birthday,” even though it was none of their birthdays. The room was brightly decorated with balloons, streamers, banners and each of their favorite dishes. I began the session by explaining why we were celebrating. Each of us reflected on how free, expressive and adventurous we were at the age of five. We talked about how and when we had lost that sense of adventure/expressiveness and what it would take to get it back. All of our stories were different, but we all acknowledged that had we all strived to be as adventurous and less concerned about those who would judge us, our lives would have been significantly different.
Perhaps you have lost your adventurous, risk taking side or your sense of self. Or maybe you have never had it. Whatever the case, you will not get far if you don’t tap into or develop an adventurous, risk taking side. As said by Helen Keller, “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” You will live a very simple, unfulfilling life if you dare not venture out and take risks.
Your first 5th birthday celebration may have been one of disappointment, or perhaps you didn’t have a 5th birthday celebration at all, but that doesn’t matter. It only means that you can now have a new or better celebration.
No matter what your situation, it is never too late to set yourself free. Free to take risks and not be overly concerned about the outcome. Free to express yourself in a manner that is diplomatic and convincing. Free to be yourself; to act it and speak it without worrying about what others may say or think. I challenge you today to put on your party hat, blow up some balloons, eat some cake (or cupcakes which seem to be even more popular now) and celebrate like it is your first 5th birthday, your fiftieth 5th birthday, or anything after or in between.
Happy 5th Birthday to You and Me!