Happy 45th birthday to me! Shall I go in the bathroom and cry my eyes out? It’s my birthday, and I’ll cry if I want to. Shall I go sky diving or how about a tattoo? Buy a new sportscar? Well for me it would be a Jeep, a royal blue one, with a lift kit, and off-road package. Should I just plain ignore the day like it isn’t even happening? Denial will work, right? I can be 29 till I die. Well, maybe 39 is slightly more believable.

Actually, none of those reactions to my birthday are for me. Some may be in my future but not because I am having a hard time dealing with the extra candle on my cake. I love to celebrate birthdays even when they’re mine. None of the “big ones” have even hit me hard…yet. Maybe my tune will change in five years when I’m half a century old.

Perspective… that’s what matters. Shall I think of myself as half a century old or shall I think of myself as having 50 years of experience? I’m getting ahead of myself… Let’s stick to 45 for now.

How I think about birthdays has been greatly affected by rockstar mother. My mom is 18 ¾ years old. As a leap year baby, she gets a birthday once every four years. I still remember celebrating my mom’s sweet sixteen. Each of her three grandchildren at the time wore t-shirts that said, “My Grandma is 16.”  FYI, she still isn’t legal to drink.

Thinking of herself as 16, 17, 18 has kept my mom young – young at heart, mind, and even body. Age truly is just a number in her mind. If she focused on the number – the real number – 75 – and how the number increases even faster than the years seem to pass – she may not attempt half the things she does.

Next month my mom is blessed with an actual birthday. Next month she will also be testing for her purple belt in taekwondo. That is the SEVENTH belt in our martial arts school’s belt system. Yes, my almost 76-year-old mother will be sparring (fighting) people, breaking boards with her bare hands and feet, performing forms and other self-defense moves, taking people to the ground (probably me), demonstrating her knowledge of Korean words, and maybe even throwing in a somersault or two to earn her next belt. If my mom focused on her increasing age and the things she can’t do anymore, her life would look a lot different. She wouldn’t be wearing a martial arts belt of any color let alone purple.

My mom took a leap of faith and started taekwondo at age 74. I was 40 when I first put on a white belt. It’s never too late to try something new no matter your age, gender, shape, size, etc. It’s never too late to start tackling a dream that’s been on your heart for years or even a minute. Do something TODAY that fuels your fire or better yet do something today that scares you half to death. Adventure awaits!