What does the number 75 mean to you?
When you think of 75, do you think of the glass 3/4 full or 3/4 empty? Do you think of the fact that it equals three quarters, or does that mean you are a quarter less from a dollar? This past weekend, as my grandmother celebrated her 75th birthday, I contemplated on how she would compare her age to these analogies.
As far as I’m concerned (and as many others, I’m sure, feel), a 75th birthday is quite an accomplishment and milestone. Not everyone is blessed to reach 75 years. However, as she read greeting cards from family members that had the number “75” highlighted throughout, because we were proud of the milestone, I noticed in her face expressions that it made her think about how old she really is now. Remarking in a somewhat sad fashion, she said to my mother, sister and I, “Someone told me today that I’ve lived a quarter of a century. I don’t know how I feel about that.” I know, *sad face*, right? I felt bad when she said that.
Obviously, the fact that she turned 75 years old made her a little melancholy, while we, her family, were gleaming with happiness as soon as we walked through her door with a ginormous balloon – bigger than us all – marking her birthday. See, we know how far she has come. She had been very sick for several years, battling severe asthma, diabetes, anemia, fibromyalgia, breast cancer at one point and other health issues. I can understand why she feels the way she does and I’m sure her daily aches and pains remind her of the many years she has been on this earth. But, on the other hand, as a 30-year old woman, looking in, I am so proud of her and her age and only hope that I can reach that age with dignity and be proud of the life that I had lived thus far.
The gap between our ages reflects so much.
Known in the family as one of the smartest of her 7 siblings, she retired from a long, successful career; I’m still trying to find the job that works for me.
She has been married, had a child, and grandchildren and has survived her husband; I’m still looking for the “one” and hope to have a husband and children of my own in the next few years.
She has experienced much life has to offer, including seeing dozens of Broadway shows and other theatrical performances, traveling to places like the Bahamas several times throughout her life, and earning an income that allowed her to really experience what life has to offer; I’m still looking to have these experiences.
Yet, we have so much in common.
My determination to do what makes ME happy, my drive for success in my career and financial happiness, my love for my family…that all is partly due to her encouragement towards me and teachings.
Her birthday this year, to me, reflects the 75 years that she has been a blessing to her family, and specifically, me. To be a blessing to someone – what an accomplishment that, alone, is! I only hope that if I am blessed to live to the age of 75, I am able to accomplish just a little portion of what she has been able to accomplish.
I send 75 birthday wishes to my grandmother this year (which truly does not amount to how much love I have for her), and will show her more and more each day how much she is loved and how proud she should be of her life and it’s affect on others.