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Although none of us come with a guarantee of immortality, lupus taught me at a very young age that I am most definitely a flesh and bone mortal. At the time of diagnosis I was just 25 and told I would likely not see 30. Good news on that front! I’m way past 30 (times two, actually!). This may be why I love birthdays and so look forward to celebrating my own birthday every year.

I can tell you that I am in no way one of those people who worry about aging. Nope, I earned those smile lines smiling and those worry lines worrying about the people I love, especially children growing up. I do find age interesting though. I must admit I am terrible at guessing people’s ages and have an awful time remembering how old friends and family members are, simply because it doesn’t matter to me. I figure the more candles on my cake, the more I get to light up the world and the more wishes I get granted! Although my mind loves pretending to be young and my spirit is certainly on board for that, my body isn’t quite the willing participant I’d like it to be. The joints seem to be pointing out on a rather frequent basis that they are indeed growing older, no matter how hard I work to convince them otherwise.

Here is something I have learned about aging: The older you get, the further up the number line you push your definition of “old.” When my youngest daughter was little, she told me that she knew someone who was forty years old and they were still alive! Ah, youth. Then, in my teens, with my own parents in their forties, my gray haired grandmothers absolutely seemed old in their seventies. But now, nearing sixty myself, seventy and eighty don’t seem old at all! Plus, I know a lot of very active people over eighty-five, including my parents who make living beyond eighty-five look good. What I’ve been reminded of once again is that it isn’t the number of candles that matters, it is the spirit with which we live, the fun we have and the love we share and receive.

So, I’ve decided if my body will get with the program, I will keep my spirit alive and well and looking forward to many tomorrows. Look out world, that means lots more birthdays for me and you all know how I like to celebrate those!

About Cindy Coney: Ambassador of hope and author of The Wild Woman’s Guide to Living with Chronic Illness, Cindy Coney is a nationally acclaimed speaker, trainer, human resilience expert, and philanthropic force. Dedicated to helping both children and adults achieve optimal health and success, Cindy has taught thousands of people to move beyond coping with limitations to recapturing joy and fulfillment in their lives.

Diagnosed with lupus in 1980, Cindy has since driven a race car 124 miles per hour; completed the Chicago Marathon; championed countless nonprofit organizations; presented to the World Lupus Congress as a keynote speaker; and shared her inspiring, empowering story from Belize to Baltimore.

Follow Cindy’s Blog at www.cindyconey.com