It is 4:41 AM on May 26th, 2017. Today is my 40th birthday.
I awoke at 3:50 AM and have completed all my morning rituals: I’ve drank a shot of wheatgrass, put away the dry dishes and washed the dirty ones, set the coffee, meditated and now it is time for a journal entry.
I’ve always enjoyed the end of May because it is not only my birthday but the school year was coming to a close and summer beginning. The end of the school year is a very exciting time for a kid as you come to the end of your textbooks, wrap up remaining projects and spend much of the remaining school days socializing, playing in the playground and doing nothing in-particular. The weather would be consistently warm and thoughts of summer, sleeping in and endless days of fun pervaded the mind.
As I think of my childhood days at Trinity Elementary in Columbus, Ohio I remember how we had to go to a weekly mass and May was the month of Mary. The special event was placing a crown on the Mary statue for the “May Crowning.” Someone from our class would be picked to place the crown on her head and I had always really wanted to do that but was never chosen. I think that memory lingers with me as it is combined with the other memories I’ve mentioned about May just above. Yes, May was always the best month of the year in childhood and I’m very glad I’m able to remember these things thirty years later.
I’m no longer a child, those days are a memory. I’m no longer a young adult: the last remaining traces of young adulthood have been firmly and decisively wiped away by my birthday today and reaching an age that is universally known as mid-life, or middle age. And I’m now reminded of this image, which those more than five years younger than I will not understand.
Now, thirty years later I no longer find myself in Columbus, Ohio, having not lived there for approximately sixteen years. It was just over ten years ago that I lived in Asia and I’ve worked for the same company for six years. Time is speeding up as I get older to the point where it seems as though all I need to do is blink and a few months have passed; I fail to focus and a few years have slipped by.
So how do I feel today? Well, I’m really enjoying remembering how I felt about May when I was a child here in the silence of the morning. Those pleasant feelings just done come as easily as they once did. Every day there is the stress of work, job uncertainty, the marathon and constant demand of raising two kids, and the seasons just don’t change, nor does May bring an abrupt change in schedule and daily activity. Everyday is groundhog day here in California, married with kids, at 40 years old. The month of May appears really not much different from December weather-wise. I’ll do the exact same activities I do on any other day. The only difference is that I think I will take more pictures today and perhaps even write a few more short posts.
I take that back, there is one more difference. Today is the start of a weekend which worked against me as a child, but I appreciate today. It is Memorial Day weekend, a time when families often go on trips, which meant not many of my classmates were around for a birthday party when I was a kid. Therefore, I don’t remember too many birthday parties, but rather smaller events that were usually not on my exact birth-day. I do remember a skating party for my birthday one year held at USA Skates that was a lot of fun. It was at this party Vicki Ciotola borrowed $5 of my birthday money to buy a pair of Coca-Cola sunglasses from the prize area.
I was more than happy to give her the money since I had a huge crush on her. But the loan did nothing for me in terms of dating, but I think I got one hold-hands skate out of the deal. On our Trinity class page I’ve reminded her that she owes me not $5 but $11.36 due to inflation. Unfortunately, she does not remember my loan, nor the sunglasses which is very disheartening and might sway my thoughts about voting in favor of debtors prison.
So what is the main point I want to make? Well, I said much of it yesterday in that I’m very happy with all of my choices and I have a very nice life at 40 years of age. However, I wish the pleasant and wonderful feelings of childhood would come easily as they did so many years ago. Perhaps I’ve let my mind be swayed a little too far recently by all the pressures of adulthood…. when in fact my pressures are not so severe. Perhaps it is my own mind I’ve let wade too deeply into worry and concern. Just let it go and as Bobby McFerrin says, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy!“
One thing I do want to mention is that my perception of the world and this universe has evolved and become something very exciting. To get right to the point I now deeply understand that we really do not know much about reality, our existence and the nature of this entire universe. When contemplated deeply it is both awesome and terrifying. I’ve come to understand that humanity was doing so well in terms of getting to the answers up to the fall of the Roman Empire (my post on this topic). Humanity then fell into approximately two thousand years of superstition and suppression of knowledge that really only started to recover with the enlightenment which have been built upon right up until this very day. We now have a pushback against science here even in the year 2017, even with all our universities, access to knowledge and amazing technology! There is too much to learn, too much data, too many books, people just cannot process it all and so stick to the familiar, to what everyone else around them believes and then they hold on for dear life in this roller coaster of progress in knowledge.
So when I look up at the stars, or at the sunset, or read poetry, or science, or visit the NASA website I am in complete amazement and awe. I see this miracle that I can think, am cognizant, in a terrifyingly infinite universe. I’ve reached a point of understanding at 40 years old that I’ve never had before and can easily see that many people will never reach.
And with that I think I’ll leave off. The time is now 5:28 AM and I’d like to get a workout in before the day starts. With a workout, I will have completed all the things I like to do in the morning and thus should make for the beginnings of a wonderful birthday weekend.
The ocean on May 26th, 2017