Today is my birthday.
I love birthdays. They are personal holidays, and I have always been a fan of celebrating them. This is your unique, singular Happy New Year. Birthdays can be an incredible source of positivity.
Some people see them this way. I know I do. But some people see birthdays as an increasing reminder of their pending mortality. Every year marks another year of getting potentially frailer, having your joints become stiffer and less flexible, and gaining grey hairs and other aspects of aging.
Age, like time, is relative. What does that even mean? Simple — you are only as old as you feel.
Middle-age, middle-ages, mindfulness and madness
I have been fencing with the same medieval reenactment group for approximately 28 years now. To that end, I have been teaching rapier combat for about 24 of those years. Since we do not break down into age or gender categories, everyone fights everyone else (with the exception of the under-18 crowd).
Thus I find myself teaching and fighting people who have been alive for less time than I have been participating in this activity. On the other side of that same coin, I also fight and teach people at least twenty years my senior. Some of the younger crowd can seriously kick my ass, as can some of the older crowd.
But what I revel in is how I can give those people younger than the number of years I have been teaching this game a major run for their money. Skill, endurance, dexterity, and all, I make them work as hard, or harder, than their contemporaries.
I won’t deny that there are times after a three-hour practice that I am sore as hell, but it’s totally worth it. Want to feel young? Take two swords and go run a twenty-something kid around the floor for fifteen minutes.
The point is, the number that is my age does not have any impact on my performance in this game. Frankly, the older I get the more skilled I have become. The years fall away, and the joy I get from this game cannot be quantified.
When I fence I am in the ultimate mindful state. In that state, my age does not matter in the slightest. Forty-something? Big effing deal.
Nobody gets out of life alive
The most inevitable thing you and I face is that we are going to die. No, I am not making this statement to be morbid, but it helps to point out that you and I have but a finite time on this planet. As such, you and I only get this one time to experience all the joys, possibilities, and potential that life has to offer.
Life is choice. You get to decide if you are going to live life, let life live you, or curl up in a ball and await your inevitable demise. Thus, you get to choose if you perceive yourself as getting older, weaker, and less capable…or if you see yourself as forever young, powerful, and gaining knowledge and abilities with each passing day.
I refuse to accept that each passing year marks another year closer to the end. Not because I don’t acknowledge the inevitable, but because I still believe that I am young, that I am strong, and that I am capable. My physical, mental, and spiritual existence is entirely for me to choose.
So today, being my birthday, can either be something to lament, or something to celebrate. I am celebrating because damn do I love being alive.
This is not swimming the backstroke in a certain Egyptian river
I am not in denial of my age. That’s not the point of this. The point is that I am not being defined by my age. Several of my close friends, whom I have known for over twenty years, have hardly visibly aged in that time. Sure, all of us have some complaints about joint pain and uncooperative metabolisms, but that doesn’t stop us. We are still the same strong, fun-loving people we were back when we all first met.
How you feel is a choice. If you decide that you are getting older, frailer, and less capable, that’s the reality you are consciously creating. But if instead, you decide that you are getting older, stronger, and more capable, that’s going to be your reality. Feel good or feel bad, you get to choose.
Being mindful of your thoughts and feelings in the now is where the decision lies. I love my birthdays, and I love the positivity I get from well-wishers, friends, and family every year. For this, I have the deepest gratitude — and gratitude is one of the most versatile tools in the positivity toolbox.
Age, like time, is relative. It is only a number that has whatever meaning I assign to it. Thus, I see this new year for growth, change, and incredible positivity.
Let’s go get some ice cream cake and celebrate together, shall we?
Finding positivity is not hard, but it does require action
Knowing that age is relative, and how old you feel is up to you, you get to choose if a birthday makes you feel weak or powerful. When you see this as a chance to tackle a new year and direct the potential for change, growth, and new and exciting experiences it ultimately empowers you. When you feel empowered, your mindfulness increases, you become more aware overall, and that tends to spread to other people around you.
As such, you can build more positive feelings and discover more things to feel positivity and gratitude for.
Gratitude leads to happiness. Happiness is the ultimate positive attitude. An attitude of gratitude is an attitude of positivity that begets even more good energies — and that, like you, is always worthwhile.
You are worthy and deserving of using your mindfulness to find and/or create the reality in which you desire to live. When all is said and done you matter, and positivity is yours for the finding.
Originally published at http://titaniumdon.com on September 2, 2019.