It’s my birthday today. I hear a lot of people my age complaining about birthdays. They don’t want to acknowledge them, they say they don’t want any more of them. Being on the other side of cancer treatment, I say “bring it on”! Aging is a gift that some people will never get to open, and I feel fortunate to be given the chance.

Every birthday is a reason to celebrate being on the right side of the grass. It isn’t just that I survived another year. It’s that I’ve been given another year of opportunities to live well.  By that I mean: being fully present.

I have a day at home today. And I have a list of Birthday Rules to help me stay on track. The Not Allowed column is the stuff I usually fill my days with, distractions that I feel pressured to “accomplish” just to keep my head above water. Not Allowed today: cleaning, home repair, paperwork, phone calls, emails, business, planning, relationship rumination, ego hooks, AND any thoughts related to any of those.

The Free Choice column is activities that keep me in the present moment. It includes: exploration, relaxation, creativity, quality relationships, laughing, music, meditation, exercise, time outdoors, and mindful indulgence. No planning ahead is allowed.

Sticking to the Birthday Rules is tougher than it sounds. It is only 10:30 in the morning and I have already been challenged many times. I have behavior patterns that draw me to the distractions, saving the “good stuff” for later. And there are gray areas. Writing this could be considered task, except that it is also creative awareness.

What are you doing today?