Birthdays are usually happy occasions (HAPPY Birthday! Get it? ). But growing up I remember often feeling sad at least the night before and sometimes the whole actual day of my birthday.
I had a great childhood: loving parents/family, great friends, lots of opportunities and comforts in the town of Walnut Creek, CA. But because of how I am programmed I have always been preoccupied with the mark I am making in the world. Additionally, I have always been keenly aware of the value of time as it passes. And so each birthday, marking another year of my life finished that I would never get back, made me sad and a little scared that my mark wasn't important enough, or even noticeable.
Well, for the most part, I grew out of this fear of growing up and when it was time to leave home in 1986 I left in a big way. After one year at UC Davis, a school only an hour from home but a thousand hours from where I thought I was academically, I went to Japan for two years. Talk about leaving the nest! Still love my parents and siblings, more than ever, and I sometimes miss the comfort of the nest I grew up in but, MAN!, this flying stuff is the best!
- I miss the pain of completely butchering the Japanese language:
- The awkwardness of being totally in love with the girl I would marry;
- The idiotic swagger I carrried in my first job thinking I knew more than the adults around me;
- The stumblings and sleepless nights of a new dad;
- The stumblings and sleepless nights of an experienced dad with teenage daughters (Wait! Those are ongoing).
My point is that I LOVE the chance to make my mark each day. The chance to FLY! Admittedly these past few years have seen the world make more marks on me than I probably have made on it. BUT, with 45 years under my belt now and the hope of the first day of the next 45 years I am ready to fly again.
I love what I do--why would any of us waste our precious time doing something we don't love?! I get it but it's CRAZY! There will be always be hard things in whatever pursuit we engage, regardless of how much we love it, BUT how much better are we as people when we TRULY love what we do?
So for my birthday today I am going to leave my own comfortable nest and place much more emphasis on doing what I love to do. I think a key to living a life of meaning is this:
Forget what the world says or thinks--they don't know you like YOU know you. Find what you love fast and then pursue it relentlessly.
Happy Birthday to me and Happy Day to you! Let's go mark this world up!