Today is my 59th birthday. The mere fact that I’m even mentioning that fact is unusual for me. I usually prefer to sweep birthday under the rug and hope they pass without notice or fanfare. I can’t really remember the last birthday I actually looked forward to. But this one is different.
I remember very clearly when I turned 50. Emotionally, it may have been my most difficult birthday ever. I actually had very little to do with actual age, but more what it symbolized and where I was in life at the time. I was not running, more due to apathy and anything else. I was not taking very good care of myself, I was not in a good career path and my immediate surroundings were not pleasant ones. I felt old, and I allowed myself to buy into it. I had very few happy days during that time.
A lot has changed in the last nine years, and it has all ultimately led me to arrive at a much better place. It has included many ups and downs, peaks and valleys, ebbs and flows, but I know that every low point has been necessary in order to experience, and more importantly, to appreciate the high ones.
Today, I am in a very good place, and at 59, I am looking in a different direction than I did when I was 50. Instead of lamenting that my best years of my life are behind me and my life is more than half over, I am looking forward and living in the present and for the future. There is so much I am thankful for every day, and so much to look forward to in the coming years. I plan to celebrate that thankfulness every day for the next year and beyond.
I’ve seen people do #100happydays posts and have been inspired by this. Thank you for those who have done this exercise and found something to celebrate each day. I’m sure there were challenging days when it was difficult to come up with something positive, but I am also confident that looking for happiness and finding even a glimmer of it in the midst of the tough days, like finding a needle in a haystack, make the whole exercise worth it.
One thing that age can do to a person manifests on the inside, in the forms of cynicism, skepticism and distrust as life deals blow after blow and saps energy while teaching tough life lessons. It’s easy to buy into that, and look for the worst in everything, and I have leaned more in that direction in recent years. But life is too short to feed on a steady diet of negativity, and I certainly don’t like being around it. As the years go by faster and faster, it make more sense to value, and find the good in each day, each hour, each minute. Time may go by too quickly, but everything we have is dependent on it and must happen within its confines, so it should be spent in a way that touches the most people in the most positive way.
I have many goals for this coming year, in every aspect of my life. I want to be a better everything to everyone starting with myself, and it has to come from within. I want to personally take the hundred day challenge and expand it to 365 days, every day until I turn 60. Anything, done long enough, becomes habit, and I can’t think of a better pattern to fall in to then one that includes at least a happy thought every day.
I know doing this for 365 straight days will be an extreme challenge, but hopefully, I am up to it. I am, by nature, a moody person, and dark clouds show up from time to time, with a feeling they will never leave. Today, I am enthusiastic about the goal, but today, I feel good, so it will be easy. But there will be days when the break in the clouds will be hard to find, and those will be the days it will be most critical to find the glimmer of light.
But I have so much to be happy for which I will elaborate on over the coming year, an item at a time, and a day at a time, but in a nutshell, it all revolves around a few simple things; love, faith, family, friends, health and accomplishments. Most of my writing has to do with running, and although that is not the focus here, it is certainly still an inspiration. I started today with an easy 3-mile run, getting up at 4:30 in the morning to do it. I can’t say I was overjoyed to get up that early this morning, but since some of my goals for the next year are running ones, it had to be done.
Running, especially pain-free running has always been the tool to get my creative juices going. I’m sure over the next year, running will be a central theme of many happy days, and running time will most likely be the inspiration for many other happy thoughts. And if I can’t run, as has been the case for much of the past year, the challenge with become exponentially harder, but I will be up for it either way. I just know which way I’d prefer.
So, with that in mind, let the happiness begin.