The 4th Decade of Life!

Mmm...birthday cake

Happy birthday cake in technicolour!

It’s my birthday today and well I’m in my 4th decade of life. It’s been a day full of receiving wonderful gifts from loved ones, a day when my friends from all over the world have called and texted and messaged and I feel truly and wonderfully special.

Beautiful gift box!

Gifts, gifts, glorious gifts!

Today, when I look back at the times when I didn’t have some of my best friends call me on my birthday and how awful and despondent and disappointed I would feel, I feel like I’ve come of age :). When I think back to when I would count all the friends who called me or wished me and mentally tick them off the “list”, I feel like going “awww, come on, really?” When I think of how bereft I would feel just because I didn’t have surprise parties being thrown for me or a group of friends creating a ruckus and throwing me a party, I think to myself, ‘what’s with you girl? grow up!”. But if I didn’t think like this in the 4th decade of my life, God I haven’t lived then have I? It would be a sad day indeed if I haven’t evolved yet, grown up, matured, learnt to deal with the focused conditioning of the mind with “Hallmark” moments of joy and laughter, and realised that we are a product of what we allow ourselves to believe and absorb. Our minds are like sponges and we are so eager to please and be acknowledged that if we think that cake cutting is how birthdays are to be celebrated then we accept it as the last word on happiness on a birthday. If big huge bouquets of flowers, hordes of people clamouring to take you out to lunch or dinner, parties, fantastic gifts beautifully wrapped, are the signs that you’ve arrived in life or are really loved and popular, we accept it as the norm.

Confetti and party!

Birthday party

For the longest time I would crave all of those things. Today in my 4th decade, I am happy with my loved friends, my inner circle, my family remembering me and wishing me on my birthday. That’s all I really care about. The rest of the paraphernalia is just that, paraphernalia. We get so sucked into this whole “idea” of what things should be, how our lives should “look” from the outside that we really forget to get in touch with who we are and what we really should look for when we seek happiness.

I think it was Confucius who said, “happiness is an inside job.” Man, he sure knew what he was talking about. After all when you think of the love your friends and family shower on you, people who really care, it’s so easy to really sift the grain from the chaff. There may be occasions when friends forget, there may be friends who remember, there may be friends you want to forget and there may be friends who want to forget you. Does any of it matter? Life is all about the warp and weft of relationships which form an intricate and beautiful pattern on your heart and soul. The ones that are woven with a strong bond last many lifetimes, the ones that are based on mere superficialities, well, does one need to even worry about them? And then there are those which serve a specific purpose in life at a very specific time in your life. These are all the tides of life, cresting and troughing…up and down, high and low, big and small.

But when you break it all down, you find that the love of yourself for yourself is the single most important gift that you can give yourself. And if you have even one human being who loves you unconditionally (well, for all practical purposes, because unconditional love is a myth), you are truly blessed and you have well and truly arrived. Because all you need is love, love is all you need.