Happy Birthday To Me! I am having the most wonderful day today. I wondered if my 50th birthday would be hard. I had a hard time with my 40th birthday. I remember thinking that I was 40 years old and I hadn’t accomplished anything with my life. That was the big thing for me, wondering whether I had ACCOMPLISHED anything. I talked to my husband about it a lot. He tried to reassure me, but no matter what example he gave, I would dismiss it as not counting. Wonderful marriage, not an accomplishment. Fabulous children, not an accomplishment. Nice job working for my husband, doesn’t count. Theology student, not important. I really struggled with the idea, at forty, of not having left a mark on the world.
For this birthday, none of that is important to me. I look at my beautiful children and I think that, even if I never did another thing, I have left a terrific mark on the world through them. I look at the work John and I have done in Marriage Enrichment and I know that we have made the world a better place for the couples we have worked with. I have grown a lot in the last ten years. I have become comfortable with myself and sure of who I am. The accomplishments I was searching to find were there all the time but I refused to see them. Now, I have become so grateful for each small accomplishment that I celebrate everything.
This is one more example of the blessing that has come from my low vision journey. A year ago, after receiving my diagnosis, I thought that my life was over. I thought that there would be no accomplishments for me. I thought that reduced vision meant reduced quality of life. No hope. No joy. No growth. That might sound melodramatic, but that was my reaction to hearing that I had Macular Degeneration, to my experience of central vision loss. My imagination ran wild with unpleasant scenarios. I knew I would get through it, but I didn’t think it would be very much fun.
Now, a year later, I have changed so much. This has been one of the most wonderful years of my life. My eyesight has deteriorated a lot. But my INSIGHT is amazing. I understand life on a new level. I love much more deeply. I am aware of grace in a way I have never been in my life. Everything is a blessing. Some blessings may be very well disguised and hidden, but I know they are there. Because I believe that they are there, I am able to find the hidden blessings. My life is fun and full of joy.
I am working hard to break through my barriers and to not hold myself back. I am willing to step out of my comfort zone. I try to be as friendly as possible and people are so friendly in response. Every time I take a step, I am rewarded with huge unexpected blessings. Today was just one example of the magical life I am now living. I was showered with messages and phone calls and cards and gifts and flowers and love and good wishes. I am completely overwhelmed by the enormity of love that was shown to me today.
If my fear when I turned 40 was that I had not accomplished anything with my life, then my joy at turning 50 is that the future is so bright that I know the best is yet to come. This past year was unbelievably amazing. I have every reason to believe that the upcoming year will exceed that. I may not be able to see clearly with my eyes, but my heart sees everything. And everything is beautiful.