I was tempted to title this birthday entry “One Year Older”, but then I thought that I don’t feel older. I actually feel quite invigorated with life. As my birthday approached, I began to examine the years that have passed and thought long about what is important in life and where life will lead me in the coming years. There’s a long path ahead, I hope.
While there are many rewards in life, I distilled several of them from my life thus far. In no particular order,
- Friends — I do not have many friends, but the few I do have are some of the kindest, most understanding people I have ever met. As an only child, I never had siblings with which to compare viewpoints and to experience the world, but my friends have, intentionally or otherwise, stepped in to fill that void.
- Family — Who would not name family among the important things in their life? I cannot begin to imagine what my life would have been like had my family not taken such an active role in it.
- Curiosity — I carry a copy of Curious George around in my bag as a reminder every day. This is a lesson learned easily from children. Interacting with a child can remind us of the importance of remaining curious, never judging on first appearances, and playing a little every day. After all, what is a life worth if we don’t actually live it, and, as the saying goes, take time to stop and smell the roses.
- Education — Let’s face it, the world is a huge place, and we cannot experience it all. However, that which we can experience is enhanced when we have a solid education. Higher education in particular is a rewarding venture. At times, it can be overwhelming. It can challenge us and frustrate us, but it also broadens our minds and fine-tunes our skills and talents making us better individuals.
- Helping Others — This is perhaps the most rewarding experience in my life. I would not say that I was not helpful in the past, but as I age, I find myself more willing to lend a hand to others. The act of giving provides us with a sense of community and a sense of satisfaction. It also rewards us because reciprocation often comes when we most need it.
This is not a comprehensive list of everything that crossed my mind. If I listed and expounded upon all of them, there would be much overlap, and the potential for a poorly written book.
Damien Rice sings,
“Some things in life may change, and some things they stay the same.”
We follow the course of our lives and contribute where we can. There are times when we have no control, but then there are other times when the decision and the next path to take is up to us. We may not always like the choice we are presented with, but we cannot ignore it. To do so would be to resign ourselves to a life less lived.
So on this, the anniversary of my birth, I suggest that when you wake up every morning, look at yourself in the mirror and decide to live life fully. Make a choice and revel in it. Take a few minutes to play. Carry a reminder to be curious. Compliment or smile at at least one person during the day. Sing a song or dance. Strive to learn something new or try something new, no matter how small. Help someone in need. Let the people you love know that you love them. Don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself. And at the end of the day before you drift off to sleep, think of one thing that enriched your life that day and be thankful for it.
Be well and a happy birthday to all who share this day with me.