Entry 01 – January 8th, 2017
Reflections on a birthday…or an introduction to a year of living dangerously
A new year has come upon us, sidled on up and ushered the previous one off into the ether. This means a lot of things to different people and you can perhaps relate to one or two of them: new year’s resolutions, new year-new me, clean slate, etc. It’s about a fresh start and about making changes to where you currently are and where it is you think you would like to be going. I’ve never been much of one for making resolutions, and I fall into the failure percentage for the few times that I did try that out. I’ve determined that if you see something in your life that needs an adjustment or a full-blown change there isn’t much sense in waiting for the new year to make it your “resolution”, make the changes that need to be made so you can reach the potential that you have. It is a convenient starting place though so I can see why so many choose to make their changes on January 1st and I’m not at all suggesting that you shouldn’t spend some time reflecting on the year that has past and the one coming up.
For me, the new year rolling over means another birthday is on the horizon. Yes, I know that everyone has another birthday coming in the new year but mine is literally on the horizon as it occurs just 4 short days into the new year. The ball drops, everyone watches some college football and has a plate of ham and black eyed peas and then it’s on to another birthday for me. When I was a child I used to not like where my birthday fell on the calendar, being only ten days after Christmas it seemed as though I was not getting the full spectrum of the birthday celebration being that everyone was entering the “After Christmas blues” phase and making those necessary financial adjustments for the extra spending that happened in December. That’s not to say that I didn’t have great birthdays or that my folks didn’t try to make them special because they did and I have no complaints at all about those times. It just seemed that my friends and others who had birthday celebrations later in the calendar had a bit more going for them…which was nonsense of course. As I got older, through my teenage years and into young adulthood I determined that birthdays were only as special as you made them out to be and that the number in your age might change but that doesn’t mean you have matured nor does it indicate that you are old. I didn’t need big parties or widespread acknowledgement that it was my day, even if those things are nice.
We have widespread cultural jokes about reaching certain ages and that, for some, it is a big deal that they’ve climbed up into the higher elevations of the aging process. They don’t want to be thought of as old and make little jokes about this being their 25th birthday…for the 10th time. We laugh at this but I’ve never seen what the big deal is, except for some of those that have lived such self-destructive lifestyles that every birthday seems to be a miracle of sorts. As a culture we are so infinitely worried about being thought of as “old” that people will spend thousands of dollars trying to hold back the years and do crazy things to their bodies trying to maintain the appearance of youth. Most of these turn out terribly and it becomes obvious to everyone what their insecurities are.
I made a decision a long time ago that I would never be “old.” I can’t stop myself from aging and there is no fountain of youth that I’ve had a drink from (though I do have a bottle of water from the one in St. Augustine). Being old is a mentality, it is a state of mind that people resign themselves to. There will be, and are, days that I feel my age and everything aches and I just feel tired…but I refuse to be old. I will still enjoy all of the things from my childhood days and the music I’ve grown up with because there is still enjoyment to be had. I will still marvel at sunsets on the swell of the ocean and the waves dancing along the shoreline. There is still life left to be lived, even at 40, and I have no intentions of stopping now or ever right up until it is my time to pass on. So this is a new year and another birthday past…and I’m just getting warmed up.