Being Grateful for Life Today to Celebrate a Birthday Tomorrow

Debbie Centeno
Begin to look within, which starts by being grateful that you are alive today and maybe you will be able to celebrate another birthday.” ~ Debbie Centeno
Photography courtesy of Juan Pablo Arenas

Our Expectations

A few years ago, I attended two events on the same day. The first one in the early afternoon was a memorial service/celebration of life. The second one during the evening was a birthday celebration. You are probably thinking the memorial service was for an older person, while the birthday celebration was for a younger one. That’s okay because it is normal to think this way.

Let me clarify. The memorial service/celebration of life was for a 12-year-old child. A sweet boy who did not have a chance at living a normal life because of a devastating condition he suffered. A child that we all expect to run around, play sports, enjoy the many activities and attractions for children. To grow into a young man, fulfill his childhood dreams, become a good citizen and have a family of his own. But no, this young boy was the one in the coffin.

The birthday party we attended was for a 70-year-old woman. She is a healthy person who raised three exceptional children. They surprised her with a birthday celebration, with Mariachis and all. A very well-deserved celebration for a fine lady. Even though there have been some struggles, as we all have struggled in our lives, it is a blessing for her to reach the age of 70. I wish her many more years of health and happiness. So, what’s your point?—you might ask.

See the Irony?

As I mentioned above, some might imagine a memorial service for an elderly person; it is just natural. None of us expect to outlive our children. From a very young age, we learn that when we grow old, we will die. We do not think about dying at a young age—especially being a child. We are not mentally prepared to even contemplate a child dying. So it always comes as a shock. However, when it is an adult person, especially the elderly, it seems okay.

Never Take Life for Granted

We are here today and do not know about tomorrow. We should be grateful for all we have. I have heard so many times how people complain about not having enough money; not having the latest fashion; not having the new technological gadget they want; how someone made them lose their temper, and so on. Every day I hear more complaints than gratefulness.

I am not talking about my family environment; I am talking about anywhere and everywhere. If you turn on the news, it’s 95% bad (and I think I am being modest here); the same goes for social media. While driving to work in the morning, I see it on the streets. People are in a rush to get to their destiny, some blocking others from going into their lane. Others are driving too close to vehicles in a menacing way. Then there are the ones we interact with daily, either while shopping, eating out, working, or even socializing! Do they realize they have another day to live? Maybe they should take one minute a day to be grateful for the gift of life. This action will emanate positive energy into the world, which will bring positive things into our lives.

My Point Is

We must focus on living the life given with gratefulness, thus enjoying what time we have on Earth. Everyone has struggles. There are good times and bad times. Learn to look for the good in the critical moments and life will be more enjoyable. Some might think, “Well, you haven’t gone through any struggles!” My response? Yes, I have. Just like any other human, I’ve struggled. My biggest heartbreak was the loss of my oldest son. But I did not let it define me. I learned how fragile life is, and I learned to be grateful. I learned to take a negative situation and turn it around by looking for the positive in it, thus making me a happier person.

Happiness Begins Within Ourselves

I urge you to reflect on this and make a better life for yourself. Happiness is within ourselves. No one can make us happy. Look within, which starts by being grateful that you are alive today and might celebrate another birthday. Life is too short to live with resentments and regrets.

Many blessings to all, may you live a long, healthy, and abundant life.

Originally published at on October 6, 2020.

Comments / 1

Published by

My writing journey began as a way to cope with grief. I realized I enjoyed writing and began a blog, Debbie’s Reflection ( I also enjoy traveling. Therefore, as a traveler, I began another blog, Traveler Wows (, in which I share tips on places, landmarks, and reviews on airlines, hotels, and restaurants. Thank you for joining me on my writing journey.

Orlando, FL

More from Debbie Centeno

Comments / 0