Birthday Wishes

IMG_1116Recently, my son sent me a text asking what I would like for my birthday this year.  I wasted no time in sending the answer:  a beachfront condo on Sanibel Island, a wrinkle-free neck, skinny thighs and good eyesight.  Even though I graciously told him he could select which of the gifts he would prefer to give me, I didn’t get a reply.  Perhaps he was too busy comparing the costs and labor involved in each of my selections before settling on his final choice.

I remember very well how easily I used to come up with a list of things I wanted for my birthday.  Like most children raised on lots of television, I always had a ready list of new toys and games I had seen advertised and that I was dying to have.  Later, as a teenager and young adult, I yearned for a wardrobe full of expensive and beautiful clothes that would allow me to have whatever look was trendy at the time.  Still later, as a not-so-young adult, there were always books, jewelry, a few clothes and other various household items that I would be pleased to receive, so even then the question of “what do you want for your birthday?” wasn’t hard to answer.

I’m not exactly sure when it happened, but somewhere in my journey through middle age, I just stopped wanting quite so many things.  Maybe I don’t long for beautiful clothes any more because I know that those clothes probably aren’t going to look all that great on my middle-aged body.  (And I’m actually okay with that:  one of the benefits of aging is that I no longer feel the pressure to strive for the “perfect” appearance.)  I don’t mind wearing the same few necklaces and bracelets each time I go out, and as for household items, my house is already as full as I want it to be.

I still love books, but years of diligently collecting the works of my favorite authors means that my bookshelves are basically full.  I don’t want to end up like my father, who had more than sixty boxes of books that he insisted on bringing with him on each of our family’s many moves.  (A family friend once commented, “By the time your dad finally gets all his books unpacked and on his shelves, it’s basically time to start packing them up again for the next move.”)  I go through my books every so often, getting rid of the ones that I no longer read so that I have room for any new books I add to my collection.  So far, my system is working, because I haven’t bought a new bookshelf in years.

So now, at the age of almost fifty-eight, I have a hard time coming up with a birthday wish list of things that anyone who isn’t fabulously wealthy (beachfront condos don’t come cheap) could actually buy for me.  And that’s a good thing, because it means I have reached the point where I have figured out that the things that I want the most, and the things that are the most important to me, have absolutely nothing to do with money.

36 thoughts on “Birthday Wishes

  1. My guess is you for figured out what’s important to you a long time ago, Ann..:) You just went through the he motions of answering the questions early in so you can fill up your bookcase, etc..:)
    But you are right, as we get older we seem to need or want less and are happy that we’re happy having the people we care about most around us. That’s the best birthday gift we can hope for. Though I have to tell you, the beachfront home is a real close second..:)

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    • Thanks, George! The thing I want most these days really is time with my family and friends. But I’m going to admit that spending time with those same people in a beach front condo would also be nice! LOL!

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  2. Thanks for another relevant post Ann. I too have problems with the gift list. My grown kids ask me each year to send them some things that I would like. I’m blessed to have everything I want with the exception of one thing that is impossible. I have everything I want because I am blessed to have the resources to buy the things I need or want which frankly is not much. So each year I send a list of books mostly about dogs or dog behavior, SF Giants beer, or golf stuff. ironically I never get any of these items; I guess my kids had ideas of their own in the end. And for that one thing that is impossible? The guarantee that my three children will be happy, healthy, independent, prosperous, and in love with their life’s partner for the rest of their ling and happy lives.

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  3. Happy birthday, Ann! I’m in the same boat. I’m now in the habit of telling my grown sons not to buy me anything, to save their money, but a little time with them would be lovely😄

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    • That is exactly what I tell my two kids when I’m being serious! At this stage of my life, it’s all that I really want….or at least all that I really want that anyone is actually able to get for me. I still think skinny thighs would be nice, but that’s not gonna happen, and it certainly could never be a birthday gift.

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  4. I feel the same way Ann. I hit 50 last year and the best gift I got was a birthday voucher for me and my husband to dine in the iconic Melbourne Tram Car Restaurant. “Things” just don’t seem important anymore. In fact I’ve started culling lots of things in my home … finding a new lease of life in giving away stuff I no longer need or want. It must be an age thing. What’s important is the people around us.
    Happy Birthday Ann for whenever your birthday was. Warmest wishes to you. 🙂

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  5. My feelings exactly, Ann. Long ago I stopped caring about new “things,” and began realizing the importance of time with family and friends. And like you, I still love books but since I’ve had a Kindle, my bookshelves aren’t bulging like they once were.

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  6. Oh, I would like that condo and a better body! But I really enough stuff and my house is full and I don’t need many new clothes. One of the perks of getting older! I enjoy consumable gifts – wine, etc. Happy birthday to you! Make a wish!

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    • Yes, consumable gifts are nice! And we can always dream about the better body and the beach front condo. Still, the nicest gift is just spending time with the people I love. The older I get, the more I realize that really is priceless. Thanks for the birthday wishes!!!

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  7. I somehow became unsubscribed!!!! BOO! I hate when WP glitches like that! Oh Ann – thank you for making the “miss you” comment as I had no clue! Sorry to be MIA! I’m back- and HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Wish for cherished moments with those you love ❤

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    • Oh, Jodi, you are so nice! When I noticed you were no longer following, I wasn’t quite sure what to do, because I thought it might just be that you were getting to busy to follow so many blogs, and I completely understood that and didn’t want to put any pressure on you. But I also found that I really missed your comments, and wondered if it could possibly be a mistake. I was going to just let it go, but then on an impulse I just wrote the truth, which is that I missed you!

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  8. Yes, I’m much the same – want much less, but even when there were things I wanted badly, as soon as my birthday rolled around they went clean out of my mind! But anyway – happy birthday for whenever it is.

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    • Thank you, Val! I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who has a hard time thinking about what I want (that is actually something my family can buy for me) when I’m asked. I think it mostly because I want less, but also because I’ve reached the age where my memory is completely shot!

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