Another Year Wiser

Today is my birthday.

A young friend was consoling me that I’m not “that old”. I disagree. I am exactly that old. And I wouldn’t go back if you paid me. That’s just a figure of speech, by the way, if you happen to have a time machine and a lot of extra money.

My point is that my life’s been interesting. I came from a backwoods mining town in northern Minnesota, lived in my car, put myself through school partially by working the night shift in a factory, attended a prestigious grad school to which I had apparently mistakenly been admitted, started businesses, got rich, got poor, lived overseas, got married, got divorced, had jobs I loved, and had jobs I hated.

Never, in all of my years, did I look back and think “I wish I hadn’t done that.” It was when things were darkest that I learned that most of the problem was not the situation but how I was reacting to it. Every thing I hated was inextricably tied to something else I loved. A person I met. An experience I had. A lesson I learned.

So today… I sit temporarily, voluntarily unemployed. I’ve found a city I can call home. I’m doing some more writing, hanging out with my kids, and happier than I’ve ever been. Or at least that’s the way it feels.

Because life’s all about change. We get older. It’s kind of like gravity. It just is. Not much point in being unhappy about it. Rather than be upset about how heavy things are, we can choose to be thankful that we’re not flying off into space when we least expect it.

When you’re 40, if you go to the doctor, guess what? They don’t try to fix anything anymore. They stop trying to fix shit when you get to be 40. They don’t … they just go, “Yeah, that starts to happen.” They don’t care.
— Louis C.K., Chewed Up

Likewise, I choose to look back on my life and appreciate everything I’ve learned and the people I’ve met rather than my shitty ankle. I’ll just take my Aleve and go out and work in my garden to the best of my ability.

So, today’s my birthday, and I am exactly that old. And that’s perfect.

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