I’m 36 today.
Tradition would have me celebrating with drinking too much, feeling sorry for myself, and counting the dreams that died that year. Sad, I know, and just as misguided. Don’t buy into that sad-sack line of bullshit. The minute past-me knew you were buying into it, past-me would attempt to coax things out of you. To use you.
I can’t tell you if that previous coping strategy derives from self-centered youth, general naivete, or some sort of nature based instinct. Nevermind that it got the job done, I got my food, shelter, and sex over the years, all the base human needs. What I can tell you is that I am ashamed and resentful of that whole thought process. When I ponder on the me I used to be, I find, at least for this birthday, I don’t ponder on the me at all.
Looking back has me recognizing the pain I’ve brought to those who were only trying to help or, worse, trying to love. I count the sins and cringe at the worst offenses. I do my best to be repentant without making it all about me. I think it’d be a good idea to be a little more pious and a little more humble from this point on.
Please don’t allow the tone of this entry to misconstrue things. You know how I mentioned earlier about nursing self inflicted problems? About the drinking and the isolating and the sulking? I can happily tell you this year is very different.
Since New Year’s, I am drinking less and less. I exercise regularly and eat healthier. Instead of isolating this year, I have a little lady with whom I exchange an abundance of love. Overall, I am tending to those base human needs the way a gardener tends his garden; with thought and care. I am pleased to say I am better off now than I have been in a long time.
Nothing is perfect. I, like any, still struggle with life. There is lots of road ahead and plenty to do. Be that as it may, I feel better about where I am going and why; most importantly, about who I am as a person. I am a person who would like to amend any transgressions and even give back a little more. The good news is: I have a lot to give and the faculties with which to give it.
This birthday is not about poor me and what’s wrong; no, it’s about good and making things right.