The Aging Expert Celebrates A Birthday
Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you! I hear my mother’s voice singing those familiar lyrics. In my mind’s eye I see her beaming down at me smiling, walking toward me, carrying a homemade birthday cake, candles burning brightly. The birthday song, sung to me, sung by me, and always always sung with a sense of hope for the the year to come.
As I begin this year and sing that song, I ask you to sing that song with me, for you. Yes, that is my birthday wish! Today may you begin again with a sense of hope for the year. As a gerontologist one of the facts you learn early on is the power of resilience. With age comes change and life experience, developing a strong resilience muscle can improve the quality of your life.
Over the years I have come to learn life can change in a moment. The world you know can be turned upside down. In a moment you may experience joy, happiness, wonder, regret, loss, and sheer terror. If you are like me sometimes these moments happen within a space of fifteen minutes!
Birthday Gifts For You
When it comes to gifts, sharing is caring. Here are the gifts of my life experience I want you to have. In times of great happiness and sorrow these thoughts keep me grateful and grounded.
- I’m going to let it go, until I let it go, until it is gone. Letting go is a process and is sometimes best when repeated.
- This is what it looks like getting to where I am going. You are on a journey.
- Things can change within twenty-four hours. In twenty-fours it can change or your perception can change.
- Putting yourself to bed is sometimes the best thing to do. You can benefit from a time out.
- You have made a difference in the lives of others by being you.
- You can choose to begin again.
Happy birthday to us! May the year be hopeful and resilient.
Judi Bonilla is a gerontologist, social entrepreneur, and the Director of Program Innovation at Advocates For Aging. Her latest book Freewheeling after Sixty is planned for a summer 2016 release. Previously she was a fellow for Hispanic In Philanthropy and Senior Service America, Inc. Bonilla has spoken at South by Southwest (SXSW) the American Society on Aging, and Certified Senior Advisors conferences. She has received a Special Commendation from the City of San Diego for the inaugural Older Driver Awareness Week in San Diego, the Jack Gorelick Achievement Award for her passionate commitment and perseverance to the growth of the profession of travel instruction from the Association of Travel Instruction and the Innovative Transportation Solutions Award from Women In Transportation.