Today’s 52nd birthday lacks the drama of my 50th. And, for that I am pretty happy.
Prior to my 50th birthday, in anticipation of this milestone of a half-century on the planet, I intended to climb Mt. Ranier.
According to my plan I would celebrate my 50th birthday on or near to being on Mt. Ranier.
I trained. Hard. And, as I got stronger I also noticed my left lower leg was getting sorer.
The Thanksgiving before my 50th birthday the pain was so intense I was pretty sure I had actually broken my leg.
The pain was bad enough that I circumvented my normal male urge to avoid going to the doctor and went to the doctor.
Who then sent me to a get an ultrasound.
Where it was determined I had a blood clot.
Three months later, and a bunch of blood thinner, anxiety, visits to the doctor, the clot was determined to no longer be a threat to my life.
Today, as I celebrate my 52nd birthday I do so with the knowledge that the next 48 years of my life will not be spent waiting for another blood clot.
I quit doing New Year’s Resolutions long ago that I can’t exactly remember why I quit doing them.
In lieu of resolutions I have chosen to set benchmarks for the next years of my life.
Thankfully, none of them have to do with becoming filthy rich. Although, if any of you reading this wish to make me so, I will not reject your efforts to make it so.
None of them have to do with a face lift, Botox treatments, hair transplants or purchasing a shiny red sports car.
Each of them, however, have something to do with another 48 years that have been as remarkable as the first 52.
I intend to run more marathons – do more bike rides – try more physical challenges that push me to my limits both mentally and physically.
I have no illusions about how fast or how far I will go. Just that I will go as fast as I can and as far as I can.
And, make me laugh when I find myself in the middle of them and proclaiming out loud to myself, “This is amazing!”
I plan to wait until the last year of my life to leap out of a plane. Although, I do intend to get to that Mt. Ranier climb before I turn 60.
I look forward to embracing the journey of my teenage son through the remainder of his teen years, and the beginning journey of my near teen daughter through the entirety of her teen years.
I embrace the uncertainty of it all. As much as I fear it.
I think I will do a better job of taking care of my lawn at home while I make no promise to do the same for my cabin lawn.
I am going to spend less time looking at my phone on weekends, and plan to disable my email through the weekend.
Along the way of the next 48 years I am going to try more things I haven’t done before – maybe do some things I didn’t like before – and make an effort to help more people in different ways than I have before.
Mary-Helen and I have some new adventures ahead of us – some of which I am pretty sure she won’t appreciate nearly as much as I think she will – some of which I know both of us will be glad we took the risk and made them happen – all of which will remind me of why I am where I am today.
In talking with my 14 year old son about the world around both of us – and how he sees his future in it and beyond it – it’s clear I have some unmet obligations to his generation that need my attention.
That requires me to get back out of my comfort zone and participate in the world of public policy despite my disdain for so much of how it is created – as well as disrupted and distorted.
The first 52 years of my life did not go by like a blur. But before I knew it I was 52.
I have flashes of my childhood that come and go – more vivid memories of the rest of my life as it has progressed – some of the most painful ones that cause me to flinch – while some of the most joyous cause me to smile.
It has never been my intention to leave my life on Earth feeling as though I didn’t take full advantage of the gift of life on this Earth my Mother gave to me 52 years ago on this day.
I have never feared getting older. As a young boy I couldn’t wait to grow up.
As a middle age man, I am still enjoying the growing up.