Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Cake & Candles

Birthdays, I love to celebrate them.  Wait, let me clarify: I love to celebrate your birthday.  I love to find something special just for you: to tell you how happy I am that you were born!  I love to celebrate a day dedicated to you!
Cooper's 6th birthday 4/2O
However, when my own birthday rolls around on the calendar I feel very differently.  [No, it's not my birthday: not until December, whew!] I truly wish it were a day that would come and go just like any other.  Why you ask?  To me, the date means so many different things.  First it means, "oh my God,  I made it another year.  I made it to be 27!"  Second it means, "Oh, my God, I am already 27, how did it go by so quickly?"

I then start to have a sense of panic.  I panic that my life is quickly slipping away, like I am watching sands in an hour glass run out.  Each birthday is usually met with quiet tears and the questions:
"Did I make enough of this year?" "Did I really live?"  "Can I hold time in my hands just for an extra moment?"

The number 37.4 [life expectancy for someone with CF] haunts every one of my birthdays.  Sure, people live beyond that, but a great many never make it to celebrate that number as well.  Most people with CF die from lung complications, primarily respiratory failure.

How can I put as much life as I possibly can into every day?  How can I experience everything?

The hardest part of celebrating another year is seeing what CF has done to my body in that last year.  I think about what I felt like 2 years ago, 5 years ago, or even 1O years ago and wish I had those lungs.  I wish I would have done more with them when I had the chance.  I wish I would have squeezed more life out of every breath.

Every birthday causes me to ask myself: "what have I done with my life?"
3rd birthday - Always with a DQ cake.
All those moments I took for granted give me a sense of regret, thinking I could have lived more within those moments.  I then feel urgency to live as much as possible right now.  I jump to take every opportunity, invitation, and experience. Why? Because in the back of my mind I hear a ticking:  the subtile steady ticking of a clock, asking me if I lived each minute to its fullest and reminding me of the hour glass that is my life.  With every birthday the ticking of the clock seems gets louder.

I am grateful for each birthday.  I am grateful to be 27.  I am just selfish and want 27 more.  I am grateful for every chaotic filled minute, every opportunity, every relationship, and every breath granted to me.  I will gratefully blow out those candles with every breath I am given, regardless of how many candles are on the cake.  Thank you to everyone who fills each one of my moments with such goodness! Love to you all.

Have you lived today?

1 comment:

  1. Such an amazing post. Thank you, Ashley. Everyone needs to hear your birthday message.