My grandmother lived to be ninety five years old. Throughout the years, whenever she talked about people who happened to be her age at that particular moment, she would make a comment – “they are enjoying the best year of their lives!”
For my grandmother, every year of one’s life was the very best year.
It took me a long time to understand what she meant, but I think that I am getting there.
Many years of my life were painful and difficult and did not seem enjoyable at the time. My mother suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. My sister almost died from pulmonary embolism. My family in Yugoslavia lived through tragedy, violence and hardships. I was sick with cancer.
But when I look back on all this, all these misfortunes, together with all the joys, construct a picture of my life. I would not be who I am without them. I hope that I have learned from them to be a better person.
One thing I do know – I am much more compassionate, accepting and kind. To my family, friends, strangers, the world around me. And to myself.
Today I am fifty one years old. Happy birthday to me!