Another rotation around Old Sol.
Another birthday. Natal Day. Name Day. The day our mothers went through pain, sometimes incredible pain, to bring another life into this world. Our life.
Our children are our greatest hope for better tomorrows. As parents, we want to leave the world a better place than what it was when we came into it. Some people attempt to achieve this through their own deeds. Others look to leave their legacy through their children.
And western society wants to tie it up into a neat, tidy bow. For many of us, we work for others for decades, grinding away. We hope to make enough money to keep a roof over our heads, food in our belly, have enough money to live “comfortably in retirement” and give our children a fair start at a greater tomorrow. The American Dream.
After decades have passed and when we turn 67 years old, we may get an imitation gold watch, our co-workers, most of whom we never really get to know, try to acknowledge a work life “well lived.” They then look upon us as we walk out of the office door for the last time with a combination of envy … and perhaps fear.
We are … retired.
So, what does retired actually mean? We no longer punch a clock as we walk into work? We no longer have to work a minimum of 40 hours a week? We now have free time on our hands to do … what? Do we go quietly into that good night?
But, the reality is a life at 67 years old today is far different than our parents’ generation. 67 years old has very little in common with our grandparents’ generation.
As we look back upon our lives, many of us wonder, what became of our life? Have I made a difference? Is that even important? Are our children happy? Did our parents tell us enough times that they loved us?
Today, I complete my 62nd (or is it 63rd ?) rotation around the sun. The number of chronological years is simply a number that society imposes upon us. Society tell us it may be time to start to slow down. Biologically, we are not as spry as we once were. [However, for men, we now have 3 different pills to address that and absent those pills, we have 2 popsicle sticks and duct tape to compensate!]
Society can only measure the number of rotations we have completed around the sun. Society cannot measure the more intangible, the incorporeal aspects of our life.
Society cannot measure our emotional age.
Society cannot measure our mental age.
Society cannot measure our spiritual age.
Society cannot measure our maturity level.
Society cannot measure when we have found our true calling … and when our soul connects with us.
As for me, I have lived most of my adult life as a man-child. Vacuous. Shallow. Superficial. Self-absorbed. You could measure my soulfulness by the thimbleful. But … no more.
Five years ago this October 30th, my soul connected with me. A person far, far greater, far more insightful, far wiser, left my existence. Five years ago this October 30th, the blinders were lifted.
I feel more driven, more insightful (I hope), more wise, more compassionate, more energized than I ever have. I do not know what the future will bring. But, I will boldly stride ahead, with strength, with resolve, with passion and with the knowledge that many others support our shared vision, our shared dreams.
And so, today … I thank you for the birthday well wishes and acknowledgements. But, as a birthday (or name day) present you may give to me, instead, I ask something of you.
If your mother is still with you, give her a call. Tell her … thank you! Thank you for bringing you into this incredible life. Tell her you love her. Tell her you only want to make her proud.
If you have children, give them a big hug. Give them a kiss. No matter their age. Tell them that they are the single, most important thing to you. Tell them your souls are connected.
For those who wish me happy birthday today, thank you. But, I urge you to embrace your family, your loving family. Tell them you love them.
THAT … is the best birthday gift you can give to me.
THAT … is the best birthday gift you can give to yourself.