I just enjoyed another birthday yesterday! Mark treated me incredibly well and it was a DELIGHTFUL day, even so far away from the places I’ve been calling home. Thank you, Markus, I love you and I’m so thankful for you! And thank you Richard, Heather, Wendy & Niel for helping me celebrate! It’s great to be in SA!

I still have some time left in my 20s, which I am happy about, but I had a moment to take some inventory and think a bit about my life toward the end of the day, and I have a few thoughts to share. These might ward off the birthday blues for the next anniversary of your arrival in the world, or be an encouragement for you today, even if it’s just your un-birthday.

10. This one’s obvious. Eat whatever you want, guilt free. This should NOT be a habit, and you should not go overboard so that you’ll feel yucky the next day. If you do this once a week, then nevermind. 🙂 But don’t drink too much. You’ll probably make silly decisions, and wake up the next day feeling awful and old, and then you’ll be sorry it was ever your birthday!

9. Count your blessings. Seriously. Think about your life and what you have to be thankful for. Do you have a job? Are you healthy? Is your family healthy? We take so much for granted, taking a moment to take stock and be thankful for your life might make the idea of ‘aging’ a little easier.

8. Take inventory of the past year. Are there some things you think you might like to do differently in the year ahead? Get excited about learning from the mistakes you’ve made. I am so thankful the mischief of my youth, which did NOT bring me JOY, is behind me.

7. Smile at your achievements. Have you been hitting the gym faithfully? Did you get a promotion at work? Did you treat someone nicely even when they weren’t so nice to you? Take a moment to say well done for the good stuff you accomplished this year.

6. Even if you have to organise it yourself, get together with friends and/or family for your birthday. It is good to enjoy your life and to ask others to celebrate it with you.

5. Do something unselfish today — some act of kindness that stretches you a little. It is more blessed to give than to receive, and your soul will reap the benefits of it.

4. Count your blessings again! This time think about the past year: Did someone close to you get married or have a baby this year? Did you have the opportunity to travel somewhere new? Did you get to watch a sporting event or two where the team you were hoping to win did? Find some reasons to smile at the year you’ve just lived, and rejoice in the good.

3. Do something that will help you relax for a while. Sit at a coffee shop and watch the world go by, even if you can only do so for half an hour. Slather on some SPF and take in some rays. Find somewhere comfy to take a nap!  Find a way to press the pause button.

2. Laugh at the days ahead. If you remember that people are still giving birth in their 50s, graduating from college in their 80s and climbing mountains in their 90s, it’s is easier for you to recognise that you can still have plenty of life ahead of you, no matter what year you were born.

1. Be GLAD you’ve been blessed with another year! If you’re perceptive, you may be able to see that your life is getting better with time. If it is not getting better with time, perhaps you need to make some adjustments!

My Lesson From this Birthday: When I was 25 or so, Mark asked me to marry him in the bushveld on a game reserve in South Africa. Less than six months later, we were married. It was a great year. I remember thinking, “how is life going to get better than this? I think I’ve just enjoyed what I’ll look back at as the best year of my life.” And that made me a little sad. But the truth is, the next year was really great, and this past year was absolutely my best yet. I honestly believe that in God, as you learn to walk with Him and in His ways, He can increase your joy, no matter your circumstances. That means that whether you are being abased, or living in abundance, you can learn to enjoy the peace and thankfulness that comes from having a Centre other than yourself. Happy Birthday to you! I hope it is truly good.