Monday, September 03, 2012

Chapter 36: The Birthday

I turn 36 today.

I'm out of work, I'm close to 40, I've got no kids, and I'm sure I had a midlife crisis this past year.

This is the part where I tell you life gets better. Well guess what? It does.

I mean, don't get me wrong, all those things stated above are current, and they're things I'm working through. But to say that my life has been anything short of amazing would be an understatement. I have travelled the world, I have loved and lost more times than I like to remember, I am currently halfway around the world with the woman I love very much and whom I plan to spend the rest of my life with.

And I'm only 36! What else do I have in store?

I think what gets to most folk my age is that we get to this middle point in our lives and we do something very stupid. We start playing Hungry Hungry Hippo with the time we see in front of us, and the time we have "eaten" seems nowhere near where we think we should be. A mad scramble for time we have yet to live. And why? Because we begin to see how precious it is.

People around you start to die. You think every bump or lump is probably cancer because you're noticing more people with it. The folks you looked up to for comfort in these moments are gone, all of a sudden you're left standing. And freakishly, someone is now looking up to you for comfort.

It's a lot to take in. And there's no one right way to deal with it.

My advice? Breathe. Take ten whole seconds, that's ten deep breaths. Clear your mind for those breaths. Concentrate on the taking in and the releasing of each breath. Allow yourself that time to just own those moments. And after it's done, remember. Remember that every moment after is also yours, to do with as you please.

Life isn't a summation of any given period. Not even death marks the end of one's journey.

Earlier this year, I was at a supermarket and the man in front of me was 88. I know this because he told the teller, as he was walking out, she wished him a Happy St. Patrick's Day and she said that she'll see him next year. He stopped for a moment and said, "Maybe." and smiled and walked off. I was floored, it stuck with me that this guy was okay with the idea of not being around next year. He accepted the fact that he may not be around and walked home with his loaf of bread. And I realized something, that man may not be around next year. But a part of him, a good part of him, lives on through me, and through the story I tell of this little Irish man on St. Patrick's Day. That man will never die, and I think he knew that. That the life he lived, those he may have influenced along the way, all take a part of him; as I take a part of those I care for and those I interact with.

Milestones are nice checkpoints. But don't confuse them with the chapters of a book that you feel will end. Cause the story never does, and the best parts are yet to come.

- This post took longer than usual because I douched it from my iPad.