Birthdays and the New Year provide natural triggers for self-reflection and renewed vigor to find our purpose. As I sit here in my garage having coffee while watching the neighbors leave for work in the spring rain, I’m doing a little of both…
What I’ve come to realize during my few years on earth is that life is a series of decisions and events that lead to ever-changing goals and/or decision points. It’s important to remember (and learn from) the past, but living in or fixating on the past can keep you stagnant and paralyzed. Likewise, excessive planning and looking toward the future can sometimes cause you to miss out on the joys of the present. When we allow regret over past failures and anxiety about the future to collide, our ability to appreciate the present is severely crippled.
Over the last several years, I’ve had occasion to think (and even say to a few people) that my own life is not at all what I thought it would be—even as recently as a year or two ago. In our teen and early adult years, many of us have grand visions of who we are, who we will become, or what our lives will look like in the future. But things don’t always work out as we plan, do they? I’m not the working musician I had imagined I could be; I never made it to medical school; I haven’t followed The Rib into government employment; I balked at applying for a Ph.D. program; and my Master’s degree serves only as the most expensive framed art in our home.
But that’s just fine with me…
I am where I’m supposed to be and I am who I am supposed to be—at least for now. Sure, I wonder at times “what might’ve been” if I had made a few different decisions along the way, but I don’t regret anything about my life—at all. Every decision I’ve made and everything that has happened to (or around) me in my life has led me to where I am. And I am happy.
That’s not to say that everything about my life has been or is perfect all the time. It hasn’t been and it isn’t. But generally, the things that frustrate, anger, or otherwise upset me are, objectively, not all that serious. I’ve got a good life.
Don’t think I’m painting myself as a “let whatever happens happen” thinker. I am not. Despite some things being out of our control, we can affect change and the direction of our lives. I still have things I hope for, things I wish for, and aspirations beyond where and who I am now. And I work toward those hopes, wishes, and aspirations [almost] every day. But even in my frustration with the [sometimes] slow progress toward desired ends, I’m getting along just fine, even if I have to remind myself of that at times.
Enter one of my favorite old(er) country songs, “I’ve Got It Made.” Aside from the first line (“A high-dollar woman in a low cut dress” (even though The Rib will occasionally don what she refers to as a “big boobie bra” and a slinky(er) dress before we hit the town)—this simple little song sums up what I’m talking about. Over the last few years, I’ve come to realize (as clichéd as it sounds), life is what you make it. And The Rib and I have made a nice little life.
The Rib is a better partner in life than I could have ever hoped for; I’ve got great family and friends; and we live a comfortable life. All in all, I’ve got it made.
Thanks for all of the wonderful birthday wishes! I’ll be raising a glass to toast you and myself—and the (hopefully) wonderful years ahead of me—later tonight with friends here in my garage. And probably again tomorrow when The Rib and I will enjoy some nice Champagne and a Fielding Hills selection with a big ol’ ribeye steak and lobster tail. Happy birthday to me!
Cheers from the Garage (Coffee) Bar at CorkEnvy,