Friday, March 29, 2013

A Birthday Lesson

I wish every day were my birthday.

Yesterday was a pretty normal day, and yet, it was made a great day by my birthday.  I wore my normal clothes, worked normal hours, had a normal lunch (Au Bon Pain wouldn't even give me a birthday discount because I'm not on their birthday email list)...

And yet, the weather seemed sunnier, the birds chirped louder, more random people flashed a friendly smile as I walked by, my research seemed to go smoothly...

(not to mention all of the happy birthdays and well wishes from friends and family, a delicious dinner and Oreo ice cream cake, a fiance who went overboard on birthday presents and worked hard to make me feel special).

All of this because it was my birthday.  

Or was it?
Would the sun have shined as bright, would the birds have chirped as pleasantly, would I have received as many smiles, and would my lab work have gone as smoothly if it hadn't been my birthday? 

Yes, but I wouldn't have noticed.

Because it was my birthday, right when my alarm charmed in the morning, I had a positive attitude that was going to be hard to shake.  What if I had that kind of attitude every day?  That feeling when I wake up of "Today is going to be a great day."

Sure, some may argue that I would be setting myself up for failure-- I would have too high of expectations if I expected every day to be a great day.  Maybe they're right.  After all, bad things do happen.  On the other hand, I thought we already decided some things have nothing to do with you or me... some things are just the way they are, and you can only appreciate these elegant subtleties if you let yourself, if you open your eyes and radiate your positive energy.

My birthday gave me a reason to look for and enjoy these little things.  What if, instead of waiting for a birthday, I chose to appreciate these things every day... simply because I can.  The world's daily gift to me is its goodness and beauty.  Why wouldn't someone want to embrace that with an open heart, mind, and soul?

Birthdays are also unique because you spend a much greater proportion of your day saying "Thank you" and showing your appreciation for the kindness of others.  This state of being thankful is in a positive feedback loop with experiencing the goodness in your day.

And so, on my 25th birthday, another year wiser, life gave me a birthday lesson:

You, and only you, can choose to appreciate the goodness life has to offer.  The beauty is always there, but it is your duty to open your eyes to let in the light.

Happy (birth)day to all!

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