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Birth Days Add Up

After writing about “Present Moment Focus” in last week’s blog, that evening I sliced open my toe, having dropped a dish I was drying. Sitting in the Emergency Room, watching the doctor sew five stitches into my largest toe, I was even more shocked by what he told me, “No cycling, no running, no tennis.”

He might as well have said, “No breathing.”


Needless to say, it’s been a long week. During that time I had a birthday. While I know that “Birthdays are good for you. Statistics show that people who have the most live the longest,” I’ve never been sold on the old saying, “Act your age.” We can be 43 and act 14. Or 14 and act 43. As we grow older, we may no longer have Michael Jackson birthday cakes or slumber parties to celebrate our special day, but no matter how many candles are on your cake, on your birthday you’re still a kid at heart.

Time, though we can’t actually see it (or slow it down), is there, every day, looking back at us from mirrors, in photos, and in emails inviting you to your 25th high school reunion. I truly believe that age is a state of mind and the key to being younger is acting younger.

Every July I’m fortunate enough to come home and sleep in my childhood bedroom. And while the room no longer looks like it did when I was a kid, there are memories that linger. A tiny piece of my “blankie,” my old dollhouse, and my red and white, leather high school varsity captain’s jacket that hangs in my closet; all shadows of my past. I try the jacket on every summer, each time tempted to toss it into the Good Will pile; each time I don’t. Although the jacket hasn’t aged like I have in the 25 years since I got it, it feels like I got it yesterday.

As a professional organizer I’ve helped clients part with very sentimental belongings. Aware how hard this parting can be, I tell them that memories stay in our hearts, not in the objects. So it’s curious then, why this jacket is for me that one thread that just won’t pull. Perhaps because it’s tethered to the scene of the crime – my childhood bedroom – the place where adolescence gave way to adulthood, where Charlie Brown was replaced with Madonna. And maybe, the older I get, I’m trying to hold on to that part of me as long as I can.

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