I’ve done these birthday posts for years and I think this is the hardest one to write yet. It’s not just because of what I’ve lived in the last year, it’s that I’m not sure how I want to frame it or what I want to capture. The last couple of months haven’t been exactly easy though I have gotten to know more of who I am through written and meditational introspection than possibly at any other point in my life. I think more than anything that I am able to see what’s important in life or at least in my life. Let’s not get carried away and think my opinion and my feelings apply to everyone… even if there is a chance you can agree with me here and there.
Age is a number and although it is tied to life, experiences lived, and things we’ve gone through, it’s also an attitude and I think it doesn’t have to be a constant. For certain things, I’m a wannabe sage and it’s a miracle I don’t grow a long beard to stroke as I share whatever experiences I’ve gone through if only with the hope that it helps other people to see what they’re going through in another light and maybe find something that’ll help them make sense of the madness that is life. Then I see a banana, get an idea, and act as if I'm 13. Some people might argue I need to grow up while others giggle along and join in on the madness as I take my inner child out for frequent strolls.
I watch cartoons, I like candy and sugary cereals, but I know the value of balancing it out with good nutrition, exercise, and tough decisions. Life isn’t one thing and requires a varied skillset to be truly enjoyed… good times or bad. Having Mom pass away two months ago wasn’t a shock in the sense of it being a surprise. We knew it could happen and unfortunately complications were able to overcome her will, which is quite something since Mom shall always be synonymous with the word perseverant and quite often seemed indomitable, yet in the end, she was human... and remarkably human at that. It was a shock in the sense of how hard it’s hit me, which is anything but a surprise.
I think about her often and it’d be disingenuous not to talk about her as I write about my birthday, since she’s the reason I’m able to celebrate a birthday in the first place. I’ve had two months to come to terms with her passing and I know it’ll take many years as I continue to understand and share how much she means to me. Yet even missing her intensely, I’m able to talk to her spirit, smile at big things and small, joke around, laugh, and live. Part of her lives on through my brothers and myself and I’m amazed at how present she is in the smallest things. When she passed away, I felt equal parts helpless child and old man. It took the weight of worrying about her and replaced it with the weight of missing her and although we could speculate about how much each weighs, I’d rather focus on the fact that I will always be happy to carry her with me.
I’m 39 and I don’t know how long I have on this Earth… but I do know I have the beauty of choice in my life, as we all do. Life is about choice and it’s never been more apparent in my life. We can zoom in on the people who disappoint us, or we can invest our time in thanking and encouraging those who bring light into our lives. We can choose to focus on what hurts and what makes us sad or we can focus on what we can do to give our best while finding as many smiles as we can on the journey. We can be anchored to a moment, a memory, a pain, or a victory, or we can keep walking, occasionally skip, frequently dance, and possibly fly.
So here’s to flying, my friends. Thank you for the love, the laughs, and the maki rolls. To much more of what makes us smile and to sharing our best, whether the weather is fair or we dance in the storm.