Although my birthday was a month ago, I'm still filled with a sense of gratitude for this particular birthday. It’s amazing how much can happen in a year, where your mindset can shift to with just 365 days. It’s been an interesting year where I do feel I’ve had to dig deeper than most of my life to give my best, to be my best, and oftentimes just to be well. 2015 was a roller coaster ride year but of the negative kind. So many challenges, so many stumbles, but the only option was to go forwards.
This year so far has been quite the ride but in its randomness. Some lows, but sooooo many highs. So many successes, so much kindness, so many beautiful people in my life, and so many types of freedoms. Last year was filled to the brim with challenges but of the negative kind, and this year I’ve had plenty of challenges but of the great kind, so I wanted to pay the kindness forwards.
I did a #WritesForLife sale where everything I earned, I gave to the American Cancer Society. I said I would match it up to $300, fully not expecting to reach that goal. Then my boss pulls me aside and asks me who to make the check out to. Then people at my job asked me what I was doing and how they could help. Seeing the desire of people to help and the messages I received of people who made donations who already own my books was very touching.
Some people have told me "that's nice, because you didn't have to do it." The thing is that I DID have to do it. My mom is a breast cancer survivor. My dad passed away due to brain cancer. A dear friend survived breast cancer. Other great friends have survived while others have not. In a day when we're used to receiving, I wanted to give back for the lessons I've had in the last year, the opportunities I've been given, the variety of highs I've had, the successes I've had, and the support I've had. So trust me when I say I had to give back. I truly believe that in life, receiving requires we give to keep the balance. To think beyond ourselves.
To boot, on the day of my birthday, Monica Puig made Olympic history giving Puerto Rico its first gold medal. It was a moment of so much emotion and me and my wife truly showed our true colors. To celebrate I had wanted to go to Medieval Times... and there we were, eating chicken with our hands, watching our Green Knight try to battle for victory, and using the WiFi given in the facilities to follow the game. When the show was over, we sat at a table and finished the game. Someone actually asked me if I didn't mind Monica "stealing my thunder". My reply to that is to let people know that while we watched our national anthem play for the first time in the Olympics, two Puerto Ricans who left the Island in the name of opportunity cried their eyes out and it made this 36th birthday one of the most memorable in my life.
Throughout the weekend, I was able to help a good cause and my country won a gold medal and still people took the time to send their love and blessings through phone calls, text messages, emails, tweets, and comments. People have been reading my work, I've connected with new friends, I discovered more new places that are wonderful and the feeling of happiness has lingered.
I'm also officially past the midway point in my 30's... but that is another post altogether.
So for now,
Peace, love, and maki rolls
Peace, love, and maki rolls