The Sparkle Bonus
Sometimes Mondays

In Quiet Celebration

"I decided if you're lucky enough to be alive, you should use each birthday to celebrate what your life is about."
                                                                              ---Mary Steenbergen

Today is my birthday.

I'm 59.

And I'm damn happy about it!


Ten years ago, when I was turning 49, I was in a much different place.  I had a kid in college and a kid in high school.  I had a puppy.  My husband was really busy with his job and traveling a lot.  I was looking for a new job.  I spent a lot of time and money hiding the grey in my hair.  I was dreading my next birthday.  And . . .  I was beginning to seriously worry that there was something wrong with me.

By the time my 50th birthday rolled around, though, I was so happy to see it.

Although I never think having cancer was a "good" experience, I  know that it brought a perspective about life and living that changed everything for me.  As I celebrated my 50th birthday, I was just a few weeks out of chemo.  My hair hadn't grown back yet.  I was just beginning to feel strong enough to take a walk around my neighborhood every day.  I was fragile, but ready to begin living again.  Trust me -- I had no regrets or concerns about turning 50!  

I'm pretty sure that this entire decade of my 50s has been different because of my cancer experience.  Although I likely would have gotten to the same place (physically, emotionally, spiritually) eventually, I'm pretty sure my new perspective got me there faster!  Before cancer, I can't imagine I'd have let my hair just be its natural white.  I think it would have taken me longer to go out without worrying about putting on makeup.  I know I would never have started a blog.  I doubt I would have had the confidence to take art classes.  I would have thought meditation was too "out there."  And I'm certain I'd still be just dreaming and waiting-for-someday to travel.

Being diagnosed with cancer . . . and then coming through treatment . . . just brought a sense of clarity and immediacy to just LIVING.  Really . . . this decade of my 50s has been so much richer because I suddenly understood (in a very real way) that I actually wasn't going to live forever!  That I needed to take responsibility for embracing every day that I have.  That if I wanted to do something, I better do it now.

I am so lucky . . . 
to have been diagnosed early
to have a new treatment protocol available
to have had the support of Tom and my kids, my sister and my parents
to have LIVED.

So, my birthday is a big deal to me.  It's a marker that I've reached another year.  I'm still here.


And damn happy about it!


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Happy Happy Birthday, Kym - and best wishes for celebrating MANY more!!


Happy Birthday, Kym!! I hope your celebrations today spill over into this entire year! And, yes... here is to there being many more birthdays to celebrate! XO


Happy birthday


Happiest of birthdays to you Kym. I have a similar story that has left me so very grateful for each grey hair and wrinkle. Celebrate well.


Happy, Happy Birthday Kym and so happy to have spent much of the last decade together! Here's to the next and possibly the best one yet! Enjoy your day, I shall toast you later! xo


Happiest of Birthdays to You, Kym!!!


Happy, happy birthday!

kim in oregon

Happy birthday and thank you for the beautiful post. Celebrate Muchly!

Cheryl S.

True reasons for celebration. Happy, happy birthday!


Happy Birthday, Kym! Wishing you a wonderful day and many wonderful tomorrows!


I am damned happy you made it to 59, too! Facing one's own mortality is a real wake-up call. I haven't had one that dramatic, but my mind frequently turns to how and what we will leave behind, and to the things we should do about that.


Well HAPPY BIRTHDAY and yes you should be DAMN HAPPY ABOUT IT!!!! Enjoy YOUR day.


As I always say, growing older . . . beats the alternative! I'm so glad you're here and I'm proud to call you my friend and grateful for your presence in my life every single day. Have a fabulous birthday, wish I could be there to toast you with a pint or a glass of wine!


Happy, happy birthday!


Kym, you deserve the best of birthday happiness. And the beautiful white hair!


Happy Birthday, Kym. Hope you have a fun day and MANY great years ahead!


Happy Birthday to you!!!
Have a fabulous day!


So eloquently expressed, Kym. You are a wonderful role model for women with cancer or not. And white-haired people are so lucky. They get to be viewed as platinum blondes. So most of the ones I know, even into their 80's, look ageless. Happy birthday!


Yep. Every year that you are above ground, it's a good thing!

Happy Happy Birthday! xoxo


Wonderful. (I can't imagine a universe without your blog.) Happy birthday!


What a beautiful post Kym! I am so damn happy you are here to celebrate your life and your turns around the sun. Wishing you many, many more. Celebrate! Enjoy!! Wishing you a year filled with good health, laughter, joyful moments and some quiet times as well.


Happy Birthday dear Kym, Happy Birthday to you!

Debbie Kuppusamy

Kym, here's to you and all of us you inspire on your blog. Another year stronger and wiser. God bless. Enjoy finishing off this decade, who knows what wonderful things are coming your way in the next.


Wishing you a very Happy Birthday, Kym! I have a saying on my refrigerator, "Do not resent growing old. Many people are denied the privilege." You are not simply growing older; you have mastered the art of REALLY LIVING. I hope you had a great day today and a truly wonderful year ahead!


Congratulations for reaching this milestone! The best is yet to come...and I speak from experience! Looking back, I thoroughly have enjoyed every year of my 60s and now, into my 70s...
I'm delighted to have "met" you and look forward to sharing your adventures. Thanks for sharing your experiences and most of all, your life's lessons. There's something there for all/each of us.
Here's to a wonder-filled year! Looking forward to sharing some of it with you, Kym,

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