Celebrate Good Times

There are times that call for celebration, whether we are ready, willing, and able to acknowledge the occasion or not.  Graduations come to mind this time of year, but you may be celebrating an anniversary, so many years sober, Memorial Day, or a milestone birthday.

Since I just celebrated one of those milestone birthdays, I have thought a lot about the importance of different birthdays and how to acknowledge them.

Big birthdays like turning 16, 18, or 21 promise more freedom, more choices, more responsibility,  and more clout and general coolness in the eyes of our friends and family.  Suddenly we can drive, we can drink, (preferably not at the same time), we can vote, we can move out on our own, or join the Armed Forces and be all that we can be.  Life opens up.

But then the birthday pendulum starts to swing from jubilation to denial.  Turning 30, 40, or, God forbid, 50 is usually about as welcome as a root canal.  At 60 we get sassy and around age 75 the pendulum swings back  and we’re willing to admit our age again and take the whole family on a cruise to prove it.  By age 90 we’re so excited we have not been voted off the planet,  we want the whole world to acknowledge us as a true survivor.

I doubt any of us feel as old as our birth certificates claim we are – except perhaps on those Mondays after we take the Weekend Warrior approach to physical fitness to the extreme or we have to endure excessive amounts of hormone induced drama.  

If age is only a state of mind and we are as young as we feel, why do so many accept the unflattering beliefs about aging and begin to act accordingly? Clearly, the time for the Midlife MacGyver Movement has come!

Maybe it’s the boomer in me, but I refuse to bow out quietly.  This doesn’t mean I try to act so hip and happening that my younger nieces and nephew disown me.  It simply means I mobilize my resources and contribute to my community, my tribe, my family and friends in a meaningful way.  It also means I stop being so concerned about perfection, rejection, and acknowledgement that I don’t complete what I set out to do.

My Midlife Manifesto is a perfect example.  At this point in my life birthdays aren’t about what I can get but what I can give.  The way I really wanted to celebrate this particular birthday was to have a very low key celebration with friends but create a big virtual giveaway along the lines of OprahOkay, in my world that translates to giving away some words.  Maybe not quite as thrilling for the recipients as cars or houses, but something I have to give.

My goal was to have a video and ebook ready to roll out on the big day.  I would collect fifty sayings that have guided me through life thus far and presumably can guide me through the next fifty or so.   

I had no problem coming up with the sayings or the short essays to explain them.  Editing, as always, was the real challenge.  The next challenge was figuring out how to create a youtube video, legally add music, and design and upload an easily downloadable ebook on the web.

I underestimated the time it would take to figure all this out while holding down a full time job and possessing a penchant for procrastination.  When I realized it wasn’t going to happen in time for this birthday, I contemplated throwing the baby out with the baby water. 

Abandoning projects – especially ones that keep me up all hours of the night out of sheer excitement – only leaves me feeling devastated.  In order to give it up I have to convince myself it doesn’t matter and that no one really cares.  It always matters.  People do care. 

I have been a creative creature long enough to know anything worth doing is going to require a learning curve, trial and error, time, and faith. Several years ago when I lived in Santa Fe I woke up with what I consider Divine Inspiration directing me to create an audiotape called Stressed for Success. I’d never in my life made an audiotape (okay mixed tapes, but those don’t count).  However, I wrote a script, booked some time in a studio (where I was told voice lessons might be in order), and made a demo tape. 

I spent $500 I didn’t have to create something I had no idea what to do with.   Two months later my business partner and I sold 2500 tapes to one of our clients.  The biggest check I’d ever received arrived strategically at a time my parents happened to be visiting.

With this in mind, I started back in on the video and am providing you with a sneak peek below.

The goal this time  is less mysterious.  If I can connect with you and possibly inspire others in a way that’s fun, helps me learn some new skills, and allows us all to contribute to and learn from each other’s success, I’m all for it.  While it might be an ego boost to be a smarty pants in some areas, it’s way more fun to collaborate in cyberspace and create something with someone else that I couldn’t create on my own.

If any of you have expertise in areas that might kick this up a notch or two, please share your feedback with me.  Specifically if you’ve made videos and added photos or images, written and uploaded an ebook, or simply have an opinion about what you like or don’t like, I’d love to hear from you.  It’s only about 3 minutes and doesn’t include all the sayings (that made it 5 minutes too long), so if you’d like to view a work in progress, by all means click on the video below.

Then go celebrate your own special thing!

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