Last year, I turned 35. In my world, that's a big deal. And a nice solid number too. 35. Man, I love the ring of it.
Last year, I had my 4th/8th post transplant anniversary. In my world, 8 years is nothing to sneeze at, even if I had to go through a second transplant to get there. 8. Nice even number and it's almost the big milestone: 10.
So what did I do to celebrate last year? Not much.
For my birthday I had a grant meeting. Albeit an exciting meeting, but it was a meeting even so. My family had the usual party and it all went by with soft shoed fan fare.
For my transplant anniversary, I wrote a letter to my donor family and made mention of it to close friends and family. Really, not even soft shoed fan fare would apply in this instance.
In thinking about my 36th birthday in July and my 5th/9th year transplant anniversary in March, and, well, I want to express the meaning with some tap shoes this year.
It occurred to me that meaning is something that we often expect to simply exist, to be, a fact. But in truth, often times for things to "have meaning" it requires us to slow down and decide to give it the attention it needs in order to meet its meaning potential.
Logically, you might say a birthday has as much meaning when it is quietly appreciated by the person blowing out the candles as it would if there were a big party accompanying the day. I don't think that is true. When I pass by my birthday on the way to a meeting and blow out candles after dinner, how much time have I really taken to reflect and consider the events that led to that day, that moment? Very little.
But when I have a party to celebrate the joy and fortune of being here on earth one more year, the planning of the party, the presence of good friends and family and the role of "birthday girl" all beg me to think about what this day really means. I have given the birthday the kind of attention it requires to be truly meaningful.
In this fast paced world, do we too often pass by birthdays to go to meetings? Do we really take enough time to allow a meaningful moment, day, anniversary to feed us with the fruit of perspective and appreciation? Not always, no.
Well, this year will be different for me. This year, I plan to be deliberate in Making Meaning Matter. This year, I will give my time on earth the time and appreciation it deserves. This year, I will honor meaning by proving that I can slow down long enough to soak meaning into my pores.
So....Karaoke Party anyone???