Sunday, 14 December 2014

Do You Celebrate the ‘0’ birthdays?

This subject was raised by a writer friend on Facebook recently, and it sparked a great discussion. Her post rued her non-achievement of 'world domination' by 30. I commented to say that I had failed to celebrate turning 30. And I regretted it! I really felt I'd missed an important step. I guess it’s a ritual-type of celebration, and we throw a party to usher in a new era in our life. When I didn’t do anything ‘special’ for my 30th I felt a sense of ‘let-down’ ever afterward. I urged her to celebrate!

I plan to do something special for every ‘0’ birthday from now on. When I turned 40, I celebrated with bells on.

Coincidentally this FB conversation was started after a long year of being 49, when 50 was hurtling upon me like a thundering locomotive down the tracks!

What surprised me was I found this impending moment far more complex emotionally than I’d ever expected. I had to go on a real journey to acceptance of the concept of being ‘that old’.  Luckily the weekend before my birthday, I took the time to write my thoughts down about this milestone. Researchers have proved recently that writing things down is a tremendously effective stress release. I know it to be true for me.

Preparing for my 50th Birthday Dinner

I mulled over my feelings on every run. I remembered how excited my sister had felt when she turned 50. And I remembered the wondrous show Oprah Winfrey did on her 50th when she talked about feeling more empowered than ever before.

Ready to go!

I really liked what Glenn Hefley said in the FB conversation, “Now I'm coming up on fifty. Finally. I'm at a point were the skills I always wanted to have are at my finger tips. And, I have a worthy direction to hurtle my best spears and extend my deepest empathy.... We are such marvelous creatures. Humans, yes, but writers in particular. After all of these centuries, all the changes and the advances -- we're still the only wizards this world has ever had. We are the storytellers. We are the ones who use the words of power to shatter gloom, raise the moon and blind the sun if necessary. We create gods of every sort, one for every taste of the imagination, and every guilty need. With our gods we bend men's backs and wither women' s hands. Then we give them absolution. We show them, even after they have tried to find love, and have been beaten and scarred over and over again, that it is still worth the effort.”

I like that a lot. Glenn speaks of the physical and the metaphysical aspects of aging in a way that reminds me everything is okay.


I remember I am doubly blessed to be fifty and a writer. There's a new sense of the possibilities that come with age....
Birthday lunch with my sister 

I was trying to explain to my sister and my girlfriends, that though it might sound silly, for some reason the fact that I’ve entered my fifties, I feel I am a grown up. I feel no one can tell me what to do or push me around anymore. I call the shots now. It’s a turning point for sure in my life.
As Maggie Stietfvater so famously said, (also on FB) “I’m more myself with every year.”
This is the way I feel too, however never more so than this year and it's wonder-full.

After-Birthday lunch with my bestie

Talk to you later, 
Yvette K. Carol

How about you - how do you handle the aging process? Have you celebrated every '0' birthday? Did you ever miss one?
“The superior virtue is not to be free but to fight for freedom.” ~ Nikos Kazantzakis


  1. I'm glad you celebrated to the max, Yvette. Turn half a century old is something to celebrate. I used to love to throw big parties to celebrate our "0's" birthdays, but since I'm the one who usually did all the cleaning, decorating, food, I'm just as happy to go out to eat to celebrate an "0" birthday. Actually, my idea of the perfect way to celebrate my 60th (coming up in a year and a half) would be to have close friends or family members, say ten or less, and play Balderdash. It's a blast and lots of laughs, and we've had some of the best times of our lives. Yep, to me that would be more fun than going out to eat, especially since I'm not eating gluten or nonorganic foods and don't want to touch any GMO foods with a ten-foot pole! So until the restaurants in the U.S. stop serving foods laced with toxins, I'm happier staying home!

    1. Hi Lynn!
      Yes, I managed to make my birthday last three days :-) Still not a patch on Maria's week-long birthdays, but hey! I hope that you do get to play Balderdash on your 60th with friends & family. That sounds like fun! I went out to dinner the first night, just with family, and we went dancing afterwards. Then my brother & I talked till 3 in the morning - after which I lay in bed, so wired from all the lights and excitement that I didn't sleep a wink. It was the first time in my life I've not slept in 24 hours. However, pure adrenalin kept me going for the lunch and afternoon spent with my sister on the second day. On the third day, my best friend and I went out to another lunch. And this weekend, I went out on the town with my other girlfriends - as all of us turn 50 this year - so we did a group dinner at a restaurant. All in all it's been wonderful however I'm very weary now. This old introvert needs to spend some serious time alone to recoup.

      I'm really pleased to hear you're eating organic as well as all the other good things you're doing. Our homeopath told me that time is moving faster, and things are changing, and people have been telling her that they need more sleep, more water, and to eat more organic food. So it sounds like you're right on track. Well done! xx

  2. Hi Yvette,

    Sorry I was slow to comment. I'm not going to blame it on my old(er) age, but it had definitely something to do with weather (it so affects my mood) and having gotten an extra two-weekend ESL teaching gig (including my birthday) because I'm giving myself a trip to Norway as a present.

    Norway holds a dear place in my heart: I spent 2 terms there at university as an Erasmus student and absolutely fell in love with the country (excluding its weather) :) I made some great friends, and with one, I'm still best friends with after 9 years.I'll visit her, and see some of our favorite spots as well meet up with other friends if we can. I can't wait. Of course I also went out with friends on the night of my birthday (to Hard Rock Cafe), received great presents and felt so much excitement and joy. I'm not one of those people who wants to go back to high school years or college. Nope. Sure, there's a month in 2000 I wouldn't mind revisiting, or the entire 2005 since it was my Erasmus year (=partying, hanging with friends, traveling), but other than that, life was more fun after I turned 25, and it becoming better. I'm not saying I love getting older, but I do love becoming more myself. I love getting closer to my dreams, getting wiser and more confident, without losing the fun side. Basically, I celebrate each year, but I sure as hell won't ignore the big 0s, Yvette :):):)

    1. That's so cool you're going to Norway! That's the way to rock 30, my friend :-) I knew you celebrated. Ha ha. Could just feel it in my bones. :-)
      I'm so happy to hear all the wonderful ways you're viewing this turning point. Good on you. They say you work through your ya-ya's in your 20's and start to get somewhere in your 30's, so Salutations. You've arrived! Happy Birthday too *streamers, balloons*

    2. :):):):)
      I ran into a slightly older (than me) neighbor (I think he is mid-40s) the other day. He asked me how old I became, and when I said 30, he said, "welcome to clarity! Couldn't agree more. I welcome the fun and clarity and guts :)

    3. Yes. I like that! Perfect way of looking at it. :-) You're more sure of yourself by your 30's and it really does get better with every year. Happy Birthday again. Make sure you post pics from Norway!

  3. I celebrate every birthday. My family wouldn't have it any other way. :-)

    Anna from Shout with Emaginette

    1. You've got a good family around you, in other words, Anna! How wonderful. The older I get the more I know that Christmas is all about family :-)

  4. Mt family spent several generations in China. There, they politely ask your age. If you respond with a number less than fifty they offer their condolences. If you give a number fifty or above they congratulate you. The higher you age above fifty, the more enthusiastic their congratulations. (My 87 year old great-aunt went to China, where she had been born, and reported that everyone was so thrilled with her age, it made her head spin). So, congratulations! In my case, in my last 0 birthdaty I was sitting around and thinking, "Gosh, I only have X years to write the stories I want to write!" ...and then I got the giggles.

    1. Wow, I've never heard of this custom in China before. You've told me something really interesting, Diana. Thank you! I like it. And the older I get, the more I know what the Chinese mean. Age should be venerated because life is a battle, and anyone who has lived through it is someone worth listening to.

      That's so great that you frame your life as how long you have to write stories. I like that. Isn't it a wonderful life? :-)

  5. LOVE this post, Yvette. I celebrate each and every one of my birthdays. They're all special in different ways. Love the picture with your bestie. You are lookin' goood! Merry Christmas and I pray you and the boys have a safe and prosperous 2015. YEAH!

    1. Glad to hear you celebrate them all, Robyn!! That's my girl :-) Thank you for the compliment too!
      I hope you've had a wonderful Christmas Day today, and that many blessings shower upon your family in the coming year xx