Written retrospectively, one day later…
Today was my birthday. I have experienced 38 of those now, and don’t remember half of them. Why not? Most of them have been fairly innocuous. Reasonable, even, with simple celebrations with close friends and family.
In fact, I have often been perceived as being “anti-birthday,” as I strive to not make a big deal about the day. I generally try to defer attention and sometimes ignore it altogether. Why?
It’s just a day. Besides, my mother did more of the work that day than I did. I’m not anti-birthday for others, I just don’t like getting worked up about my own. I am no great person nor have there been great accomplishments to celebrate for the last year.
All I did was get a day older.
My attitude, though, is wrong. Why?
First, we take one day a year to celebrate the 365.25 that came before it. Not everyone is blessed with a full year. A birthday gives us the chance to be grateful for those days.
Second, we need to mark our humanity. There was a time when we were not…and there will be a time when we will be no more. What do we do in the meantime? I now expect that I’m about halfway through this journey, though I’d be happy to not be to that mark yet.
Third, we need to note how far we have come. Where was I 20 years ago? Celebrating 18, starting the last semester of high school. What have I done since then? Is it enough? Are there any regrets?
I find there are a few regrets. First and foremost is this: I clearly see how immature and self-centered I was then. I fear that I’ll think the same thing looking back at now when I hit 58!
Second, relationships. It’s interesting living here on the prairie. Many of the people out here have been friends since birth, because their parents were friends since birth, because their grandparents were friends. If not for social media, I can count on one hand the high school friends I would be in touch with…and still have a great grip for a fastball.
That’s a shame. It’s my own fault, but it’s still a shame.
Third, inactivity. I’ve spent too much of this week in it. Too many of the years have been spent spinning wheels, knowing that there was more I could do and just…not doing it. Being lazy. Being comfortable.
I find that the great things of the last 38 years far outweigh the regrets, though. I’m still here. I’m happily married, and I think my wife is too :). I have three wonderful children that I don’t think I need to feed to the alligators.
In all, it’s good to have been around for just under four decades. I look forward to filling the next 38 with more good days.