Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A lifetime to celebrate

In the past twelve months, I've gone to more memorial services than in my whole entire life.  Huh, what gives?  It has definitely not been the best year on record, to say the least.

Gone are the years in my twenties where everyone got married and weddings were a regular event.  The thirties?  Babies.  Babies.  And more babies.  Now that I'm almost, sigh, forty?  Divorces and death.  This is obviously one of those getting older awful secrets, like suddenly not tolerating dairy and sausage, gray eyebrow hair, and age spots that NO ONE WARNED ME ABOUT!  Or, I was just too young and perky-boobed to pay attention to the warnings?

Now, I'm certainly not saying that me attending all of these memorials even remotely compares to those that had to actually plan the service for their mother, father, husband, partner, or sister.  But, I just can't help but feel gloomy about it all because the life switch is so glaring.  I only wish I could go back to the days of shopping from bridal registries, bachelorette parties, and traveling out of town to witness happy nuptials (and making for great extended vacations while we were at it).  Wedding in New York?  Can you say side trip to Niagara Falls and Toronto?!  Good times for sure.

Oh, and all those girly baby showers and ogling the cute onesies and playing silly games...I miss that! Those were the glory days when everything was new and exciting and being experienced for the first time.

I can daydream all I want, but I can't go back to those times.  And, well, I'm not sure I would if I could.  I ultimately have to accept the fact that life is what it is...today.  Life now at almost forty feels so much more grownup and hard and way more sad, but a million times richer and rewarding.  With every loss of a loved one comes a greater appreciation for life and loved ones still with us.  With every divorce comes hope for growth, life lessons, healing, and a chance for new love.

It's also a good reminder that those major happy events that I yearn for don't always have to come in the form of a wedding or birth of a baby or a huge accomplishment.  The best things can be in the everyday happy life-changing moments in my life and in the lives of my friends and families, like my friend's husband getting a better job, a home-based business that's suddenly taking off, a wonderful new home, cancer going into remission, getting a lucky lottery slot at a great school at the last minute, a remarkable breakthrough in treating a son with autism, a back injury that's healing well after surgery (well on the way to 100% pain free!), birthdays, anniversaries, adopting a new rescue dog, quitting smoking, falling madly in love, and so on and so on and so on and so on...

I smile and cheer and relish all that great stuff.  When I add them all up, those sweet daily life moments far exceed the occasional sad memorial or divorce.  It really puts it all in perspective to write out a list like that.  And, here's hoping that some of that new love will mean more weddings (yay!) and more babies (awww!) and more reasons to get all dressed up and celebrate.

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