Thursday, November 17, 2011

18,724 Days to Go

Day 7 of 365 Tiny Changes

What day is it, again?  I hate waking up and not having any idea what day of the week it is.  I’ve noticed, I never do this when it’s the weekend.  It’s the other 5 days I seem to get lost in.   It’s even worse when it’s, say, noon, before I figure out what day it is.

When I do finally figure out the day, I’m never happy about it.  If it’s Tuesday, I’m thinking, “Damn, I’ve only lived through one day so far this week?  It’s gonna be a long week.”  If it’s Thursday, I’m thinking, “Damn, where did the rest of the week go?  Look at all these things I haven’t even started on, yet.”

Last year about this time, I was loosing track of the days, too.  Maybe it’s the whole cold, dreary, weather thing.  Maybe it’s waking up and it’s still dark, and coming home at 6:00 in the dark, that throws my internal calendar off. 

Anyway, last year, at this time, I got tired of loosing days and decided I would start a count down.  A count down to what?  A count down to my 102nd birthday.

I decided that whatever day of the week it was didn’t really matter.  What mattered was that I was taking full advantage of every day I had.

Sometime around my 50th birthday I stopped counting.  I’m not sure why.

I like birthdays.  Not everyone does, but I do.  Some people like holidays better.  Perhaps it’s because everybody is celebrating all together for the same reason.

I like birthdays, because they are more personal. 

As small children we get it.  A birthday is a BIG event.  I know some children who celebrate their half birthday.  The date they turn 7 and 1/2, or 9 and 1/2.  My niece even celebrates her half birthday with public fireworks, thanks to the local 4th of July celebrations.  Why not piggy back a personal celebration to a large public celebration?  More “bang” for the buck, I say.  (I just couldn’t pass that one up.)

I have a very large extended family.  Christmas was just getting totally out of control, for my budget.  I was spending way too much money for the single event.  So I proposed that we, as a family, have a gift exchange instead, where we would each purchase one big gift instead of 50 smaller gifts.  Save time, save money, save chaos.  Good idea, I thought.  

I also suggested that we then give smaller gifts to each other throughout the year on our birthdays.  We had always celebrated our birthdays with a family gathering and ice-cream and cake, but as we became adults we stopped giving gifts to each other.  I wanted to change this.

I wanted to make birthdays special again.

Here’s the catch with doing that.  We have to think about gift giving throughout the whole year. With a large family, that is a lot of thinking. 

What has happened is at Christmas we now do a gift exchange, but we also give everyone personal gifts, and we don’t give birthday gifts, again.

Buying everyone gifts at Christmas actually streamlines the process of gift giving.  I can go out and power shop for the gifts, in a day or 2.  I can power wrap the packages in an evening or 2.  I can even power disburse the gifts via Mrs. Clause, played by Mom, on Christmas morning, at her house in front of the Christmas tree, with the majority of our large family present.  In fact, if someone isn’t there for the official opening of the gifts, they will always find time to stop by and pick their gifts up within a day or two.  This saves me the time and cost of mailing their gift to them.

Don’t get me wrong.  I LOVE the chaos of the massive gift giving and family celebration we have for Christmas.

I’m saddened to realize that I have fallen into the trap of celebratory efficiency vs. celebrating the individual.

Birthdays ARE a big deal, to each of us, whether we want to admit it or not.  It’s the anniversary of the day we landed on this earth to start our journey through our life.  We deserve to have it celebrated by the people who know and love us.  It’s a reminder that we mean something to someone else in this world.  Quite simply, it’s a reminder that we count.

I have exactly 18,724 days until my 102nd birthday.  I plan to be there to celebrate it.  I also plan to celebrate each birthday in between in the best way I can think of.

I also want to make sure each and every person who is currently in my life is reminded, by me, on their birthday, that they are special and that their being here makes a difference in my life and the lives of everyone they touch.

Tiny Change 7:  Send Birthday Cards, they matter.

One more thing. 




Celebrate the loved ones in your life.  They deserve it.

Best Regards,


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