CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Used to be that having your birthday remembered would make a person feel special, but thanks to Facebook and other computer-automated reminders, birthday greetings often begin arriving en masse starting at midnight, when reminders are posted.
I've heard complaints that the intimacy has been taken away, that the thrill of being remembered is gone.
Piffle, I say.
Milk it for all its worth, I say.
That's what I plan to do anyway. Starting today. My 48th.
It's part of this new outlook I'm trying to adopt, one of making the most of time and opportunities. Of not going into the second half with a pack of regrets.
The past few months have been the kind of rough that's had me turned inside-out. I feel like I've landed back at Start once again. At first, I was frustrated and depressed and embarrassed, but I'm beginning to get excited by the idea of beginning again.
Part of this slate cleaning has involved going through the house, closet by closet, drawer by drawer, removing the excess. One of my goals is to become a minimalist. Albeit one with lots of books.
My thinking is that the less I have to take care of, the more time I'll have for what's important to me.
It's been interesting how the further into my cleaning I get, the easier it becomes to let go of what I once cherished. I've started taking pictures of some things so I'll still have something to look at and remember, but the item itself is going away.
It's one of the rare perks of aging -- knowing what's important and what's valuable, what's worth saving and what isn't.
Among my findings were stacks of quotes about random subjects, including a few about getting older. I figure by using them now, I can throw them away.
"A man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams." -- John Barrymore
"Everything slows down with age, except the time it takes cake and ice cream to reach your hips." -- attributed to John Wagner
"Time may be a great healer, but it's a lousy beautician." -- unknown
"Nobody grows old merely by living a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul." -- Samuel Ullman
"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." -- George Bernard Shaw
"Middle age is when you're sitting at home on a Saturday night and the telephone rings and you hope it isn't for you." -- Ogden Nash
"There's no such thing as too late. That's why they invented death." -- from the movie "Out to Sea"
"Don't worry about avoiding temptation. As you grow older, it starts avoiding you." -- unknown
"It's sad to grow old, but nice to ripen." -- Brigitte Bardot
"I recently had my annual physical examination, which I get once every seven years, and when the nurse weighed me, I was shocked to discover how much stronger the Earth's gravitational pull has become since 1990." -- Dave Barry
But my favorite came from Mom:
"Birthdays are God's way of telling us to eat more cake."
Reach Karin Fuller at email@example.com.