Yesterday I celebrated my birthday.
When it comes to my birthday, I have mixed emotions. Part of me is excited, happily anticipating presents, cake, ice cream and greetings from family and friends. Part of me sizes up what I have accomplished, what I would have wanted to accomplish and what I still would like to accomplish.
Yesterday was no different. It was a blessing to receive cards and calls from my whole family and read Facebook postings from dozens of people, all wishing me a happy birthday. It was a blessing to open presents from my wife, my kids and my mom. I ate what I wanted, watched what I wanted and did what I wanted. It was a great day, no question about it.
There were moments yesterday that I also reflected on the time I’ve been granted thus far – 47 years; 17,167 days; 412,008 hours. I’ve accumulated a few awards and diplomas. I’ve celebrated 23 anniversaries. I’ve seen some professional success in the last 26 years. I’ve built some great relationship and suffered the loss of many relationships, too. I’ve wrestled with unrealistic expectations and witnessed serendipity. To quote Old Blue Eyes, “Regrets, I’ve had a few, but then again, few too to mention.” Life is good, often much better than I expect or deserve.
Perhaps that is why the Bible encourages us to number our days. The theologian Ferris Bueller is quoted as saying, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Perhaps that is why we have birthdays – to stop and celebrate life and, maybe for a brief moment, live life. I’m getting to an age where the ‘bucket list’ requires a few modifications. Running a marathon seems unlikely, so maybe I’ll just run around the house with my five year old. Making a million dollars may be unattainable, so maybe I’ll make a memory instead with my 12 year old. Learning to play the piano won’t happen, so maybe I’ll learn lessons on life by listening to my 15 year old or my 18 year old.
God has blessed me with a great life, a great wife, a great family and a great job. Maybe the last 47 years haven’t always been what I wanted – maybe they have been better! I’ll let God figure that one out.