I feel like I’ve spent most of being 49 saying “I’m almost 50!” It’s a weird thing, being almost 50. My brain still feels like I’m 30 but my body sometimes reminds me that I am not, in fact, 30 anymore. One thing that has improved with age is my appreciation for the life I have while knowing the struggles I have had to endure are in no way as tough as the struggles other people may experience.
My whole life, I have never felt comfortable receiving gifts for holidays or for my birthday. I don’t know why. It’s not like someone said something to make me feel guilty about it. I think it’s just always been part of who I am; a person who knows someone else could use that gift way more than I could, so I don’t feel right accepting it. I married a man who feels the same way I do, so that has worked out well. I much prefer doing something together over getting something material, if that makes sense.
I’m writing this on August 3rd, which is 5 days before my 50th birthday. *THIS* is the week I should have waited to say “I’m almost 50!” instead of doing it for the last 9 months, so I’m going to say it now. I’M ALMOST 50!! And because I don’t want material gifts for myself, I would like to mark this occasion by doing something for others. Over the last couple of years, I have witnessed people in our government incite hate, harassment, and even violence toward human beings for the color of their skin, who they love, their gender, their choice of religion, economic status, you name it. It’s beyond upsetting to me and it leaves me feeling sad on a smaller scale, and helpless on a larger scale. Social media has become a place that allows the visibility of all this divisiveness to reach a bigger audience that can spread hate and harassment, which fuels the fear and anger of those who seem to lack empathy for others, so they join in on it. And sitting on social media talking about it all day long or going after people about it does absolutely nothing to curb these negative actions that are taking place more and more frequently everywhere. So instead of feeling helpless, I want to help an organization that can make a positive difference on a much larger scale than anything I could do on my own.
In honor of my birthday (holy crap, 50!) I have created a donation page for the ACLU. If you’re unfamiliar with the ACLU, they’ve been around for nearly 100 years , and their mission statement is this: “An organization that works tirelessly in courts, legislatures, and communities to defend and preserve the Constitution’s promise of liberty for everyone in our country.” Your tax-deductible donation, whatever amount you’re able to give, will help the ACLU help the thousands of people who need it. So if you’re a gift-giving person, please give the best birthday gift this almost 50 year old girl could ask for by helping people who could really use it. https://action.aclu.org/teamaclu/campaign/anne-wheatons-birthday-gift