Another year…

I read the comics every day. Yesterday, two in particular jumped out at me because today is my birthday!

cl150110

Close To Home by John McPherson, 1/10/15

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Pearls Before Swine by Stephan Pastis, 1/10/15

I mostly don’t remember how old I am. I spent the last few years thinking I was 57—both before and after I really was 57. Today I am 59. I thought it would feel like another non-memorable number, but I think I’m going to remember how old I am this year because 60 is going to get my attention.

It’s not that I fear getting older. In fact, I am enjoying where I am in life now, and I hope that continues to be the case. It’s more that I know the time in front of me is not endless. I am much more aware of the frailty of our existence. The older you get, the more you notice that people of all ages die for all sorts of reasons. (Side note: I wish causes of death were still listed in obituaries. Not because I’m ghoulish, but because knowing why can sometimes be useful. Useful is the wrong word but I hope you know what I mean.)

I woke up the other night thinking about the dent I’ll be leaving behind. What I mean by that is: who is going to notice that I’m gone, when I’m gone? Family and friends, yes. Quilters, yes, at least sometimes. But I’m pretty sure the world at large won’t even blink.

I am not changing the world in the same way that others have. Mother Theresa I am not. Nor am I Louis Pasteur, Ghandi, Paul Farmer, etc. I am not sure what I can do to change the world at large for the better so, rather than throwing up my hands in despair, I am going to concentrate on trying to be better in my very small sphere of influence. Perhaps the hardest part for me will be training myself to think first and speak second. I will fail at least some of the time, but I hope that those times become rarer. Here’s hoping that next year I can look back and see progress :-).

PS: I always tell my mom happy birthday on my own birthday. She did the work, not me. I just showed up on 1/11/56. It always makes her smile when I point that out.

42 thoughts on “Another year…

  1. Happy Birthday!!! I think we all leave a “dent” as you call it. We just may not always be aware of it, or how big it is. You’ve definitely “dented” me in many ways & I’d like to thank you for it. It’s made me a better quilter and hopefully a better person.

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  2. Happy Birthday. What a lovely thought to wish you mom a happy birthday on your birthday. I don’t usually worry about my age, either, perhaps because I have older siblings and friends who are older as well as who are younger. But I am approaching my 70th this year and that one is causing pause – perhaps the same kind that you are experiencing at contemplating your 60th. But you have definitely made an impression on others, not only with your quilting but in many other ways, as well, such as the gems you share in these mailings. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences.

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  3. I also always told my mom happy birthday on my birthday for the same reason. We don’t all need to touch the world in a big way. We need people to touch the world by a simple smile or hello it may be the greeting that makes there day. Give people that aha moment that keeps them quilting or moving on. I always look forward to your blogs it brightens my day. You do touch the world in a great way. Happy birthday and Hi to your Mom.

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  4. Happy Birthday Becky!!! I too will be joining you this year in being 59 (9/10/56). I will also join you in “my first born is turning 30” club too. My view is I have lived long enough to say what ever I want to, except to people who are older than I am, then I listen carefully. 🙂 Enjoy your Birthday, your “dent” is much bigger than you think it is!!! 🙂

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  5. Have a very happy birthday. My dad always said that all he ever wanted for his birthday was “another birthday.”. Not a bad way to approach getting older!

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  6. Happy Birthday!! I hope you have a wonderful day & year. I’m pretty sure you are wrong when you say the world won’t miss you. There are literally thousands who follow your blog, buy your books, enjoy your classes, buy ‘stuff’ from your website and, especially, enjoy your sense of design and your sense of humor. You will leave a big dent, IMHO. Your impact has been positive in the quilting world. LOVE everything you design.

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  7. Happy Birthday…….I’m 2 years older than you, an your thoughts have been running around in my head for awhile. I couldn’t have put it better. My Birthday is in a few days and I’m looking forward to seeing my family. As I have gotten older I realise more and more how important my family is.
    Thank you and best wishes
    Lorraine
    In Australia

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  8. I suppose if we all concentrated on being better in our own little sphere, the entire world would be impacted positively! Thank you for that thought, and happy, happy birthday to you!!
    Cathy

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  9. Oh, Happy Birthday to you! I’m just three months older than you almost to the day 🙂 I, too, have very similar thoughts as you’ve expressed here. I think it’s because we’ve walked this earth a great many days and slept through a great many nights and feel that eventual finality to it. Not morbid, just things are getting on, and with it a new chapter unfolds. We do our draft it a certain way, but other things come into play to change the script we’ve selected. Best to make the most of each day. Enjoy this one!

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  10. Happy birthday! You’ve made a “dent” on me for sure. Love your books and classes! I am coming up on one of those birthdays with a 0 at the end (not telling the first number) Oh, my, sounds so old–but then my Mother is 96 and still doing quite well–I am blessed.

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  11. Interesting comments, Becky. I recently turned 60, and while I didn’t feel it was a particularly notable milestone, it is shaking me up a bit. It sounds like you and I have had the same conversations in our heads – I recognize that I am not a leader of the masses, nor is it likely I will become one. I, too, have decided that I can make a difference in my small sphere of influence. I can try to bring joy instead of sorrow, honesty instead of falsehood, kindness and caring. And I can hope that those things matter. I believe they do.

    Btw — there is NO WAY you look like you are 59!
    Be happy!! 🙂

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  12. Happy Birthday! I turned 60 this year and it seemed really huge. It just sounds old. It has made me think, like you, that life is not going to continue forever. My mother is 87, so I could live as long. Also, I’m SURE you make a difference in MANY people’s lives. Very few of us effect the whole world. You have made a difference in my world and you know even know me. We all touch many lives.

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  13. Happy Birthday, Becky. And thanks to your mom for giving birth to a wonderfully friendly and talented person. I turned 66 on Thanksgiving and it is hitting me that my life will have an end one day. Hopefully not too soon cause I’m expecting to be a grandma for the first time (twins due July 8, 2015) and because I have a huge stash that my kids will put in a garage sale and just about give away. I know my family and friends will miss me at least some of the time, but my dent will be a small ripple in a pond. Your pond is a whole lot bigger than you seem to realize.

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  14. A bit late here but…a sincere HAPPY BIRTH DAY to you!!! Love your creativity and do feel that you will leave a very colorful and joyful mark on this quilty planet!

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  15. Happy Birthday. At almost 72, I have come to realize that one of the definitions of a successful life is to leave the world a better place than it was when you got here. If each of us try to do that, the world will be improved in so many ways. You have definitely accomplished that with your patterns, your great relationship with your family and your blog which always entertains and enlightens me. Patsy

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  16. Happy Birthday, Becky.

    This past year I started reading your blog (I try to quilt), and there are so many of your posts I have laughed with, learned from, saved for future reference, and/or shared with others.

    I believe each of us makes a difference. We think we are little but one never knows how far and with what effect our actions ripple. And I believe that no act of kindness or love, however big or small, is ever ‘wasted’. Like energy, it never goes away, it flows through the conduit of life.

    Thank you for doing your bit.

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    • I want to thank each and every one of you who wrote! It’s so nice to know that my dent is bigger than I thought it was :-). It’s also nice to know that we are each thinking similar thoughts on our birthdays. You know, if we are each doing our part to make the world better, even in small ways, it will surely make a difference.

      Thank you all, again, for taking the time to write,

      Becky

      >

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  17. Your comments remind me of mine and my husband’s discussions. This is the age for reflection of one’s life’s work. He made me laugh saying that he and I are ordinary people, making incremental progress each day.
    Those of us who love good teaching, lovely quilt designs, and good writing appreciate you and wish you a happy birthday and 2015.

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  18. Happy Belated Birthday! I had to laugh to myself when you said you tell your mother “Happy Birthday” on your birthday. My Dad used to do the same to my grandmother, that’s my mother’s mother. He said he was so appreciative of her giving birth to his beautiful wife! Now that’s sweet too, isn’t it?

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  19. my own dent will be considerably smaller than yours simply because of a smaller family….the number means nothing…it’s just a number….but it does keep one aware of the brevity of life and how to squeeze enjoyment out of every minute…say, teach, learn and do all one can….

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    • Ain’t it the truth. Every minute is precious which is why I am chagrined again today that I spent all day running in place! I got important stuff done, but didn’t even touch what I needed to do. Life is ever thus. But, on the upside, I was nice when I was doing all the stuff I didn’t want to do. That surely counts for something.

      >

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      • My favorite from Thomas Jefferson about “Doing”… “Determine never to be idle. No person will have occasion to complain of the want of time who never loses any. It is wonderful how much can be done if we are always doing.”

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  20. Happy Belated Birthday Becky! Hope it was great. Don’t feel bad, I’m only four years younger and like you, dreading the big 60. Where has time gone? One thing’s for sure, I’m spending mine Quilting! Age is just a number anyway, so why care? I once read, getting old is a privilege, some don’t get to do it. And just so you know, you matter and your books and patterns do too!

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  21. A belated Happy Birthday! I would call my mother on my birthday so she’d remember it. It was better to do that than get upset with her when I didn’t hear from her on my special day. I enjoy reading your blog. Thanks for posting about the TED Talks. I didn’t know about them before that.

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