It's my 41rst birthday today. When I went out to my car today my wife and kids had decorated it with streamers and balloons, and painted “happy birthday” on both sides. I was delighted. I went through the Starbucks drive through and because I had the window down on the drivers side it read “py Birthday”. “Py birthday” she said, “what does that mean?”
My wife and kids are buying me a recliner for my birthday. When I was 30 they bought me a treadmill. That pretty much sums it up - a treadmill at 30, a recliner at 40, probably a new mattress at 50, and when I hit 60... back to the treadmill - only this time with larger side rails and a much slower speed.
I've learned a few things in my 41 years, and since it's my birthday I feel I have every right to impose this wisdom on my readers - so here goes.
My wife’s name is Ann. After nearly 18 years of marriage I can't think of anything I really want to change about her. There's no one I'd rather spend my days and nights with. Without Ann I would be a lonely work-a-holic with few redeeming social qualities. I would probably spend my days antagonizing people on email lists and blogging about it.
She's a lot of fun too. For example, my wife told me of a dream she had last night. She was traveling to the Cracks of Doom with Fordo. This time, however, she and Frodo were trying to destroy the matching "bracelet of doom" that went with the ring. Throw in some ear rings and pumps and you have the outfit of doom - a great hit at parties. Only my wife could worry about Frodo's Accessories. Oh... and in case you wonder, my wife never reads my blog (at least not that I know of). Her eyes glaze over when I even think about technology.
At age 41 I've learned that when some young thing smiles at me it's either because I remind her of her father, she's required to do so by her job (like the girls at Starbucks) or I have something stuck in my teeth. The same was probably true at 20 and 30, but I was less realistic then. At 41 I've learned that women want... not me. That's as far as I'll go - but don't be critical men, how many did you come up with?
You might recognize this as a line from one of my all-time favorite movies, "it's a wonderful life". This line was spoken by the surly neighbor on his porch. He told George Bailey, "Why don't you kiss her instead of talking her to death". Then he packed up his pipe and paper and went back into the house muttering "youth is wasted on the wrong people". At 41 I can relate. It's amazing how much of our life we fritter away when we are young - how many opportunities we miss. As an older, wiser man I have a commitment to savor life. My friend Tracy told me just today as we were having coffee together - "life should be contemplated and enjoyed slowly and thoughtfully, like a glass of fine wine". I like that! The biggest battle in my life is one for margin. I have to fight and scrape to extract precious hours for family and friends - but the older I get the more I realize that it is during those hours that life is really worth living.
Where did Matter come from? What is the nature of reality? ...of thought? What are the implications of relativity on Theology? How is it that an ant can lift 50 times it's own weight but I struggle with the dry cleaning? Where is everybody going in such a hurry everyday? Does everyone see reality how I see it? If someone where to make a movie about my life, who would play me now that Buddy Hackett is dead? Did O.J. do it or not? Life is awash in the mysterious. To be content one only has to settle on this fact and allow yourself to learn and grow.