Well, shoot. As hard as I try to ignore it, someone always yells “Happy Birthday” this time of year. Yes, I just aged another year ... thank goodness! Now, if I ignore the mirror and pay better attention to where I put my car keys, I’ll be fine.

I am fortunate and thankful that I have survived the ups and downs of my life. There is something about “making it through” that gives one a new lease on living. When we survive heartache and trauma, we find that strength, faith, and attitude are necessary to attain peace.

There are a lot of grumpy people hanging around the earth right now. They come in all colors, shapes, ages, and sizes. Yes, some folks must enjoy being ill-tempered and mean. They hang out on social media, spewing their misery and anger. Life for them has become a hassle, a daily grind of worry and tormented existence. It saddens me that they have lost the ability to look forward to tomorrow because they are stuck in anger over yesterday. What a waste of precious time.

I learned long ago that we should never discount what God has planned for each of us. Sure, our lives have been interrupted these last two years, but there is a reason to celebrate. If we are still breathing, that means we are to continue our never-ending journey to find our purpose. So, get off the sofa, hang negativity in the closet and make the world a better place, because that is what we are meant to do. I’m serious — like, get up right now!

I love telling folks what to do. Now that I’m older, fear seems to have melted along with all those birthday candles. You can ask the girls who work out in my garage gym how I yell exercise routines to produce sweat. I do so because I don’t want them to leave this earth before they were meant to go. They perform a boatload of sit-ups so their backs will hold them up as they walk through time. They need to lift weights to keep their hearts beating and their arms strong enough to carry on. I shout because I love, and I write because I want my concern for others to travel far.

Living long has taught me that hate is useless, resentment is mind-altering, and complaining about it all is worthless. Birthdays are just a reminder that we can become more joyful than our last year if we look at life a bit differently.

You see, life isn’t just about you. We are all in this time zone together. We are each given gifts, and it is up to us to determine how to use them. Some are ignored, and some are expanded, but our talents are gifts to be shared. We are better people when we attempt to make others happier and healthier. We are intended to be instruments of God’s work.

I have a new book out this week. Did I write it? Yep. Did I spend the money to publish it? Yep. Was it my idea? Nope.

When I was young, I promised God that one day I would write a story. He put that bee in my bonnet so long ago, the buzzing just became a daily noise. The birthdays passed and the noise grew louder and, of course, I wrote because I promised.

Was it my wish to sit on a beach and watch the gulls fly by? Yep. But it wasn’t God’s idea for me. If there is one thing I absolutely understand it’s that for me to continue to enjoy life, I must do what the Almighty asks of me. No matter what.

When we go against the plan God has for our lives, we lose hope. When we choose hate over love, we lose our purpose. We become selfish, mean-spirite and heartbroken because we no longer hear a bee buzzing in our ear and whatever success we have attained is meaningless.

So, I am old. So what? I am grateful that I get to spend one more day listening to God tell me what to do. How cool is that!

May each of you have the best of birthdays this year because a bee landed in your bonnet and told you to get up, better the world and believe, no matter how old you may be.

Lynn Gendusa’s latest book is “Southern Comfort: Stories of Family, Friendship, Fiery Trials, and Faith.” She can be reached at www.lynngendusa.com.

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