16,060 days and counting....

I did the math and realized that as of Monday August 10th, I have been on this planet for 16,060 days. It doesn't really sound like a lot to me yet I am smack dab in the middle of what most people refer to as "mid life". I turn 44 on Monday and it's an odd age. I find myself constantly wondering what legacy I have left; a boxed set of Babylon 5? A few good turns on the silver screen? Random kindnesses I have doled out in the past years? Hey, I have put many a starving artist up, fed thousands of people, "adopted" 6 kids through the Christian Children's fund, and had my entire French wine cellar drunk by strangers in 2002. Does that count as worthy? Not really. I'm not celebrating in the traditional way this year. My Mum is coming into town on my birthday and I'm taking her to her cancer specialist and then we'll probably shop a bit to get her a new outfit for her birthday on the 14th and then maybe an early dinner, watch a movie if I can figure out how to use the DVD player and go to bed by 9pm.
What a change from the past birthdays I have enjoyed. My Moroccan themed 36th birthday, Scottish themed 29th, my 40th in Ibiza, 19th in the South of France with Elle magazine throwing the biggest party I have ever had in my life and auctioning off a Rolls Royce in my name....those were fun times but this seems appropriate for the time and mood and place I am in right now. A slow day with the person I treasure most in my life.
Hitting mid life one asks oneself; have I done enough? But also it's a time to realize that if you a look at it as the beginning of the second chapter it can be even more exciting then the first. Not to get all Deepak Chopra... but you have the wisdom which comes with experience, the intelligence (hopefully) to know what works for you and what does not and the instinct to choose people in your life who add to it, not take away. I find that after 16,060 days here on Earth I have honed my friends down to a measly yet satisfying 5 people whom I know I can count on, who do not judge me and who would bail me out of jail if necessary. I think that's a really fine number and I realize that it took 20+ years for these friendships to solidify into that iron clad mass of loyalty.
I have to keep reminding myself of the people who started over in their 40's, 50's and 60's and up. Some of the most important discoveries were made by people older then me. Inventions, cures, innovations all created by people in their 50's and up. I met a woman on the plane to London once who raised her kids then her husband left her so she moved to Brazil, learned Spanish and went to law school then opened a law firm to help Brazilian women pro bono...she was 55 when she started that journey; amazing. My older friends say to me "God, I wish I was in my 40's I had my looks, my health and the world was my oyster. So, I have to keep reminding myself that I live in a city obsessed with youth and I am still a young woman with the world in front of me, choices I can make and that I can do virtually anything.
For my birthday gift to myself this year I filled out the application to volunteer at the Children's Hospital. They need folks to read to kids and play board games with them. I volunteered to read to them, after all I have written children's books and I can certainly act out the parts better then most. I hope they accept me. It's 6 months of service, 100 hours and about a dozen hours of training, the first orientation is September 14th. I think if there is a God, HE would make sure I get accepted and allow me to spread a little sunshine to some very bored, very sick children. I think it would do me a world of good to get out of my head and away from "Hollywood" for a few hours a week as well. So that's my birthday in a nut shell. Mom and hopefully some fine, life affirming volunteer work. I think it's a swell way to celebrate my 16,060 days here and I intend to make the next 20,000 days better and better each and everytime I wake up. Happy birthday to any Leos out there. Here's to LIFE!