Sunday, October 21, 2007

Celebrating life

We went to a birthday party last night for a friend who is turning 70 this year. It was a really nice event, held at a local club, decorated in cute '50s-style rock and roll, and lots of folks came in costumes reminiscent of that decade, although it was pointed out that the birthday boy was born in the '30s!

Nonetheless, a bunch of us showed up in rolled-up jeans, big white shirts and scarves around our necks, socks and sneakers or loafers or flats or saddle shoes. Guys had white shirts and jeans, jeans jackets maybe, white socks. There were a few Pink Lady jackets, a few pony tails, some big, gaudy plastic jewelry that's probably more '60s than '50s, but who cares?

It was actually quite amusing. Most of us have a considerable amount of grey in our hair, that is if we still have hair. The only unlined faces were those of the celebrant's grandchildren. And yet most of us got out on the dance floor at one time or another and jitterbugged to the music of the decade, or slow-danced like we all did in high school -- rocking back and forth, going nowwhere, just enjoying the feeling of being close together in a once-familiar pose.

We ate dinner, sipped wine, laughed a lot, listened to a few comments, watched the birthday boy blow out candles on TWO cakes -- white and chocolate -- and ate birthday cake. It was a really lovely celebration of life.

And that's what we do, I think, at this age: we celebrate where we've been and the fact that we've gotten this far. We celebrate today, because we know that today is all we have. None of us -- or few, anyway -- have a clue as to how many more years we'll get to blow out birthday candles, but we've all lost enough family and friends to realize how very precious each day is when you love people and are loved.

So we celebrate: here we are! Here's another year we've had to learn and grow wise (maybe -- maybe not), to love and contribute. To form new friendships, to cultivate the old ones, to enjoy each other. To find new experiences. To learn new skills. To take care of ourselves and of each other.

Blow out those candles, however many they may number. Give thanks for each moment you have, for each experience, for each friend. Celebrate that we're all here, right now, right here, in this moment, and savor each moment for each delicious memory it is making.

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