39. What this birthday means to me.
Today, I turn 39 years old. I am far from my family but in my home town (There’s a home here and I can’t stay there just now) but I am home. I am spitting distance from the Indian Ocean soaking in the breeze and taking a moment to breath and ask myself what this birthday means to me.
After much thought I realised that if birthdays have themes, then this birthday’s theme is forgiveness. I realise that more than anything, this expression of unbridled love is what the eve of my 40th year must be about.
In the time that I have lived, these few years have been for me like war – ancient, cantankerous, messy war. It’s been like the crusades as I ran to conquer the next achievement, the next goal, the next… something. I had to be the best – the best husband, the best father, the best CEO, the best friend. I had to establish legacy for my son (my daughter only recently checked in) and a safety net for all the people who in one way or another depend on me.
To be clear, I am far from the best.
In the crusades that have been my life, I let go of many things. I let go of working with young people and soaking in their spirit and as a result, I grew old in body, spirit and in mind. I let go of hanging out with poets, artists, playwrights and musicians because I needed to be home or I needed to be at work. As a result, I haven’t released any of the poetry that is in my soul and I have allowed stories like Living Memories grow stale as many of those who told me those stories faded away into the great beyond. I let go of spontaneous travel because bills have to be paid and no one has time to go gallivanting around the world for fun – especially when there are responsibilities to be taken care of.
With letting go of all of these things, I have become a veritable grinch. A penny-counting, no fun, serious, worrisome, resentful, stressed, grinch. Most conversations I have are about work, the economy, our society, what’s wrong, what should be done, why we are doing things as we are… I have no experiences other than work, so I have few conversations outside it. Experiences breed conversations – small talk, as it were.
So I have been a bore to my wife and family and most of my friends have only found use for me as a “consultant” and “accountability partner” for their (mostly work) lives. A few, have insisted on knowing how I am really doing and I have found that I generally do not know what to say to that, other than “I’m fine”
My 39th year will be spend exercising forgiveness – first and foremost of myself, for making the choices that I have that have led me to this point. Then I am going to use it as a stage for rekindling my inner soul – I shall go to more plays, more poetry open mikes, more (small) concerts, more writing workshops. I shall find ways to having more experiences that will allow me to regale my wife, family and friends.
This year will also be spent atoning for my many many sins and finding forgiveness.
This year, I will set the stage for climbing to the fourth floor, guilt free. Because everyday I live from now henceforth should be, in the words of the 77%, lit.