Happy Half-Birthday

Note: Yesterday, June 1st,  I posted my classmate’s poem with laundry as the topic, in anticipation of my photo exhibit of laundry lines in Italy. The exhibit takes place on my half-birthday, June 2nd, explained in the essay below. Also, the photo at the end of the essay is part of the exhibit.




Every year about this time I think about how I want to celebrate my half-birthday. But you are probably asking yourself, “What’s with a half-birthday?” Actually, it is more an acknowledgment that half the current year is over and the need to examine the past six months. Did I accomplish at least half of what I had planned on my birthday? Do I change my goals or continue pursuing them? Am I keeping to the resolution I made about exercising at least 30 – 45 minutes per day? Are my long-range goals at least started? Did I visit the old friends I wanted to see? In other words, it is a day to review my life to see if I am doing what I love and loving what I do….most of the time.

I realize that the saying I read several years ago is quite true: Better to do nothing than to waste time. So in reviewing the last six months, have I wasted too much time worrying about my writing not happening, not exercising every day, not seeing friends, and generally being disappointed in myself? If so, then I have wasted hours and days that I could have been doing nothing, or rather an extension of that, doing nothing that doesn’t make me feel good about myself.

At 75 ½, I finally realize that I have less time on the planet than more. * How will I use the time I have left to stay healthy so I can enjoy the “fruits of my labors?” I look around at my peers and see that they are often full of aches and pains, spend more time in doctors’ offices than in the gym, and generally have decreased many of their activities because of health issues.

While I am still active, I can feel I am slowing down. For example, I can’t work as many hours subbing in school, because the tiredness I feel at the end of the day requires another day to regain my energy. So on this half-birthday I have declared to do more or nothing and not waste time worrying what I have not accomplished.

Actually, doing nothing is an activity for me. As a kid, my aunt called me “The Whiz.” I am sure I would have been diagnosed with ADD. But I have learned over the years how to make my over-the-top energy work for me. Now I want to use that energy to consciously slow down and read more of the books on my “To Read” list, make plans to see friends before I am too lazy or too tired/old to travel, and work on my personal writing pile (journals, poems, etc.) that is begging to be put on the computer.

At this point, after working both full-time and part-time since the age of 16, raising three children and being a foster parent, I am ready to slow down and take time to do more of what I love, even if this means doing nothing but sitting on the porch and reading all afternoon, falling asleep, and waking up refreshed. While many baby boomers retire so they can gear up their activities, I plan to slow down and watch the world go by for awhile, doing whatever feels right…. right now, because, after all, all we do have is NOW. Maybe because I preceded the Baby Boomers by 10 years, I don’t have that urge to push, push, push into old age, but just grow older a little dis-gracefully.

Find time to celebrate your half-birthday when it comes up, honoring yourself however you like! Send out half-birthday cards to family. (I make up half-birthday cards by hand-printing Happy Birthday across white stock, and then cutting the card halfway through the words. My daughter-in-law in California loves this idea and it is a running family joke to celebrate our half-birthdays. )

If you feel strange doing this for a whole day, just honor yourself for half the day. After all, it is your half-birthday!

*See a related essay: Reinvention Again in WVFC: http://womensvoicesforchange.org/reinvention-again.htm)


Angled Laundry in Italy

4 thoughts on “Happy Half-Birthday

  1. Think I’ll calculate and celebrate my 1/2 birthday, as I had a
    wretched cold on my b-day and Barbara and I didn’t get to
    do what we had planned–visit the places I grew up in near
    Lewistown. Now she is in California for another month.
    Happy Half Birthday!

    Am still trying to shake the cold!

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