The “ber” months are here! September, October, November, December. This is the time of the year for birthdays! Not only do we look forward in grateful anticipation for the birthday of Baby Jesus, in our family so many birthdays come one after another during these months.
September begins with the birthdays of Jane, wife of our son Mars, of Michael – son of Moses our youngest, and our granddaughter Bea – daughter of Ruth our daughter. Then comes October with the birthdays of Aikaye, wife of Bryan son of Ruth, of granddaughter Bez, daughter of Ruth, and then my birthday and that of Jun, my husband. On his birthday we also celebrate the birth of MAPECON, our family corporation that will be 50 next year!
November and December see the birthdays of our grandson Paul, son of Mars, of Ruth and her daughter Bianca, and, last but never the least, of Grace, daughter of Mars. Umm, did I forget anyone? Oh, yes, Jun and I celebrate our wedding anni”ber”sary, our 48th this year, in December!
It is when birthdays roll around year after year, that we realize that outwardly, we are not getting any younger. Physical strength and beauty decline with time; this is a fact of life. And Jun and I have reached the time when we can legally and validly claim “senior moments.”
But inwardly, I believe that I renew myself little by little, day by day. I renew myself through new experiences, by reading a mind-expanding book, through chats with friends and making new friends, by being creative in my leisure time, by researching and writing new columns and articles (maybe another book in the future?), by learning a new office skill or computer program at work, by reaching out a helping hand to others, by serving willingly in the Lord’s vineyard through my numerous activities in the Brotherhood of Christian Businessmen and Professionals.
I refresh my tiredness through exercising, taking a walk along the beach or trekking a mountain path in Valencia, Oriental Negros. Here in Manila, Jun and I walk along the sea wall bordering Manila Bay, or do 10 brisk rounds at the track and field oval at Rizal Stadium. I banish my stress as I sing a new song, read my favorite psalms in the Bible or a much-read book from my overflowing bookshelf, dance to an old melody, or just enjoy listening to a selection of treasured hit songs. I frolic with our three energetic dogs, review my collection of recipe books for that magic recipe, watch Walt Disney movies, or just sit quietly in my prayer chair and breathe in the presence of God.
Problems, worries and troubles will not last forever. They only last as long as we will let them. The big problems I try to make friends with; the small problems many times solve themselves without much of my help. It is the worry and anxiety that cause the deep wrinkles in our face and aches in our bones, joints and nerves.
Each birthday is a day to start over, to forgive and forget, and to remember that life is a gift that God has given us. It is a day to set aside time to discover our true self, to reflect on what we have learned during the past years, to embrace the present, to rejoice in the gift of another day, to dream, and to look forward with eager anticipation to the future.
One quotation that I have jotted down in my journal, author not noted, says, “I believe that God has a dream for each of us, and our greatest challenge and joy lies in finding and following that dream wherever it may lead.”
Now that I think about it, each day in life should be celebrated as a birthday. When we awake in the morning, we wake to the birth of a new day. Happy Birthday to all of us!