Today is my 41st birthday. Some tell me to say I’m 29 forever, I recently heard, “$39.95 + s/h” – that made me laugh!  But you know what, I’ve never had a huge problem with the number.  I was excited to turn 30, THRILLED to turn 40… (as I liked to say, “my 30’s were a bit tumultuous” — that is just a fun word to say and very fitting for my 30’s!)

While I was getting up and going this morning my thoughts of course turned to age. I decided to give anyone who cares to read this my perspective on age and aging.  Of course it is just my perspective, but perhaps it will make someone smile, give someone comfort or shift someone else’s view point.

It saddens me to hear people get so emotionally off-kilter because of a birthday or the number of candles on a cake.  Sure, who wouldn’t want the body of an 18 year old you might see on tv or in a magazine… heck, even my 18 year old body!  But that is the outward stuff… it’s what is inside that matters the most.  And I believe that as you age, the inside just keeps getting better!

Here’s my  little backward perspective going through my brain today…

When I was 1… I had a sister but no brother yet.  I lived in West Chester, PA with my stay-at-home mom, college professor dad and 3 year old sister.  (Christine– many artists have met her at Surtex)

When I was 11… I had feet too big for my body and was a lanky, awkward girl in Middle School.  My great aunt used to tell me I “look like a bed slat” — hmm… not the nicest of descriptions but I suppose it fit since as I said, I was a tall skinny thing!  I was crafty, liked to draw but never thought I could be as good as my dad.  (As well as teaching Astronomy, he wrote a weekly newspaper article that included his cartoons… he made constellations funny!)

When I was 21… I was a junior at Penn State, majoring in Marketing, and I believe I spent my birthday dancing at The Gaff and had my first shooter at The Gingerbread Man.  (Wasn’t my favorite)  I was majoring in Marketing with a French Minor and thought I wanted to go into Advertising.  (As so many marketing majors do!)

When I was 31… I was married, had a 5 1/2 year old son and lived in Redmond, Washington.  I was now the stay-at-home mom, turning my creative urgings to home-made birthday parties, cake decorating, scrapbooking and more.

And today I am 41… I am divorced, have a 15 year old I need to take to Driver’s Ed class, have an amazing man in my life, have built my own art licensing business and absolutely love what I do!  I live in Portland, Oregon and am very content with my life and my age.

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(I couldn’t find a photo of me at 11 so you will have to settle for the 13 year old version!)

I have enjoyed each year of my life, some better than others of course as life always offers us both ups and downs.  But spending your present worrying about your future and obsessing about what you looked like or what you did in your past will get you no where fast.  Embrace today!  If you have wrinkles, remember you probably got them smiling through the good times and the bad times you may recall?  They are over!  Learn from your past and create a wonderful future.

My dad likes to remind people that any age is “better than the alternative” because when you stop racking up the years, it means you are no longer with us.  Neither of his parents lived to my age — which is so hard to imagine.  I have so many more things I plan to do, experience and enjoy in my lifetime.

So it’s time to go enjoy the present of my 41st Birthday – may your day be filled with wonder!

~ Tara