Wednesday, September 7

Choosing to celebrate

I just had a birthday.

I love birthdays. Call me silly, but I always hoped that my children would be born in different months of the year, so that we could sprinkle the family celebrations throughout the calendar. The stork obliged me by delivering my three bundles of joy in separate months. Those baby bundles are mostly grown up now, but I still keep a supply of birthday candles ready to go.

I think of my own birthday sort of like my own personal New Year's Day--a time to reflect on all that the past year has brought and to plan and dream for the next year.

This year felt a little different, though. I turned 53 on September 5. As I was thinking about my birthday, I realized that in all my life, I had never really planned to be 53. What's special about 53?

Turning 53 isn't a big celebration like turning 50. I've been in my 50's now for awhile, but am I in my mid-50's? Surely not yet.

All my life I've heard people say, "Today is the first day of the rest of your life." You've heard that, haven't you? I think the saying even made it into a couple of commercial jingles when I was a kid. Well, let me just tell you: that statement sounds better when you're 23 or 33 or even 43.

Then it occurred to me that turning 53 is a gift. It might not be a "special" year, but it's my year. It's the year God has given me. Right here, right now, I can choose how I will react to being 53.

I can choose to wish I were in a different place, or I can choose to celebrate where I am.

I can compare my place in life with that of everyone around me, or I can embrace this spot and be thankful for it.

I can regret the years that have slipped by and worry about the years still to come, or I can rejoice in the time given to me today.

By the grace of God, I'm choosing to celebrate, to be thankful, to rejoice.

What about you? Are you at a "special" age? Do you think every age is special? Care to join me in choosing to celebrate?


  1. Thank you for this post. I will be celebrating a birthday soon and will be 43 and I have been sad these past few years that our good God has not blessed us with more children. I am going to follow your lead and choose to be happy and celebrate *me* this birthday. I am going to choose to enjoy the children I have now instead of pining for another. Thank you for this message. I need these reminders to help me be thankful for all that He has given me.

  2. Oh, Lil, bless you! May we both choose thanksgiving for all that we have been given and celebration of the life God has given us.

  3. Happy Birthday! You look amazing and wear your age so well!

  4. Oh Happy Birthday!!!! God Bless and yes, celebrate. 53 is a very special age.

  5. Happy birthday Richella! You are wise to celebrate every day. I decided a long time ago that I will celebrate every day as one of my grandmothers only lived to 41, an aunt to 43 and my sister to 50. Every year and even every day is truly a gift!

  6. I am so glad you posted this! I need to be reminded over and over again that this life--even being in my 50s--is a gift. I don't know when I stopped believing this or embracing this, but lately all I can seem to think is "I hate being in my 50s." And that's terrible!! So I'm getting older? So I'm gaining a few extra pounds? So I'm trying to figure out menopause? It's all a gift--to be here is a gift. Thank you so much, friend, for writing this. :)


    Thank you Richella. Every day is a gift and when you are in your 60s like me and have lost so many loved ones in this stage, you are thankful for every one. Each stage, for me, has been a blessing - not it's grandkids - two of them and three more due March 1. I'm excited for all God is going to do in this stage.

  8. Richella,
    I believe that we should celebrate all year through, not just on one day.
    My birthday is close to Christmas, and as a child, I don't remember any
    great celebrations. Think everyone was getting ready for Christmas.
    Happy Birthday, dear Richella. . .Celebrating You!

  9. Thank you for your sweet words. ALL birthdays are a gift! After recently losing my wonderful, caring, husband suddenly at the young age of 59, I have come to appreciate every day. And you reminded me that while I might not love my circumstances, I might worry terribly about my future, I have to choose to rejoice in the place that God has me.


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