I’ve seen my fair share of birthdays over the years. Family parties at Chuck E. Cheese, or the ball pit wonderland that was Leaps & Bounds, slowly progressed to closing down bars with friends in the city. But this year seems to mark a new era. Dare I say it, perhaps one of adulthood. After all, I was reminded that I have “a lot of gray hair.”
Birthdays have always served as a marker for me, much like New Years Eve, where I assess where I am in my life and where I want to be. Oftentimes this leads to a pre-birthday funk where I dwell on ways my life doesn’t align with where I hoped it would be. In my teens, I’d wonder where I’d be in 5 or 10 years. I’d wonder if my friends at the time would still be my friends, where would I go to college, where I’d be living, if I’d have my dream job. When I was a kid, my future could’ve gone in any direction.
And now, as I ramble down the path, finding my way and learning lessons (never mix Taco Bell and Andre), the view of a limitless future begins to narrow as I take on more responsibilities. An effort to become a property owner didn’t go as planned and led to some eeyore-esque wallowing. The next day I came across an article in Harvard Business Review discussing how to change your view of “lost” opportunities. Instead of dwelling on the money lost, the preferred thought process is to view the situation as an opportunity for something better.
Last week I received an email that read “a certain someone’s big day is coming up…”
I hadn’t planned on celebrating this year. Instead of marking the joy of existing, I was focused on what I didn’t have. And then some great friends helped me realize how much I have to celebrate.
A buddy came over for a BBQ where I created arguably the greatest salad ever conceived (recipe will be posted soon).
Then the next day included an impromptu trip to Michigan where we cruised down the expressway, had the beach to ourselves, raced up a giant dune with scorching hot sand, sped down the sand mountain at a velocity where your legs move faster than they ever have and all you hear is the wind rushing by your ears, cooled off in the sub-arctic lake, cooked quick & healthy Mexican omelettes before returning to the beach to take in the sunset. Then the evening ended with delicious cake and dancing, before returning home.
When one-foot-shorter me stared up at the ceiling before going to bed 15+ years ago wondering where I’d be, I never imagined I’d have as compassionate, hilarious, and thoughtful friends who were so passionate about living life to the fullest.
So, tonight, when I look up toward the rainy sky before slumber, I will be immensely thankful for my family and friends who have taught me to appreciate the joys of today.