Wow, I reached my 40th birthday a few days ago (November 11) and my wife – gracious, wonderful, and adoring that she is – thought it would be a great idea to throw a party to mark the occasion. I never really had a birthday party growing up; my family’s birthdays were always with grandma and grandpa, mom and dad, brother and sister … I never really had a party with friends. I never complained about it growing up; it never was that big a deal to me – so long as I got cake and presents (every young kid’s dream).
When my wife and I sat down to come up with a guest list, we were both wondering if anybody would show up, for the simple fact that my social life is about as active as a garden slug’s; I don’t get out much and am really quite an introvert. I think we were both stunned and amazed at the turnout – the house was packed – and though a lot of the cards and gifts were done as purely humorous jokes (LOVE the Boo Box and Whoopie Cushion), that everyone spent so much of their time, energy, and money on the cards and gifts (no matter how silly they were) and then deliver it all and play in our crazy games and stay late into the evening was such an amazing blessing. For someone like me who doesn’t get out into the world all that often, I am truly humbled by everyone who held me in their thoughts and celebrated this day with me. And there were some who couldn’t make it, but they did send their congrats through email and phone, with some warm and heartfelt messages (more than just a simple Happy Birthday) that I am truly honored and blessed to have received … As morbid as this may sound, it actually gives me hope that someone might show up when it’s time for my funeral!
I guess you never really know just how much of an impact you make on other people’s lives. Whether it’s really big or really small, it doesn’t matter in terms of size, but what matters is that some kind of an impact has been made, and it is an honored one. That’s what happened to me at my 40th birthday party.
This notion of impact is much larger than that of my own birthday party, however, because it is two-fold. I believe the impacts you have made on other people are greater than perhaps you may realize. You are all valued in so many ways and are such a blessing in this world; not just for me, but for everybody and every day that you interact with people. That you came out to celebrate with me, I hope to reflect back to you the worth that you are in my life and to possibly consider just how magnificent you are to everyone you come in contact with.
In being an introvert and a self-proclaimed shut-in, it’s a wondrous “wow” moment to see all these people you honor, admire, look up to, and respect, suddenly turn out to celebrate your 40th birthday. On the inside, we are always second-guessing ourselves, almost waiting for someone to come and find something “wrong” about us that forces us to slink into a fetal position and say “You’re right, this is how bad I am.” Okay, that might be an extreme example or caricature, but at any rate, it’s still a wonderful moment to see, read, and realize just by having everyone show up and send such gracious comments that perhaps you do have things to contribute, an honored part to play, a sense of value and worth outside the walls you keep yourself confined in. In writing this, I know it makes me sound like I have zero self-esteem – that’s really not the case – but it does make one realize that you do go beyond your own little world, your own little walls, and affect others. Too often we are reminded of how we do that in a negative fashion; this weekend was a snapshot of how we do it in a positive light.
WOW. WHAT AN ABSOLUTE BLESSING. I hope you, dear reader, will take a moment and reflect upon yourself, and honor that spark within you that does go out into the world and bless others who you meet. And maybe, just maybe, grant yourself a special precious nanosecond to accept that, and understand that you are an amazing blessing, even when you may not realize it.
Another reason I wanted to celebrate my 40th birthday was to acknowledge something within my soul that I knew to be true – there have been other lifetimes where my spirit never reached a 40th birthday. Somewhere deep within me, I knew there to be many such incarnations. In celebrating this event, it was to honor those portions of my being that never made it this far, and to hopefully in some small way carry them with me as I go forward into the future. Whether or not my reincarnational selves are aware of this, I can only hope, but I know somewhere inside me (as I’m sure you do, too, within your own self) other lives my soul has lived never got to see this part of existence – 40 years old. And that is, truly, something to celebrate.
When I consider my last reincarnational self – a young man blown to pieces in the Pacific theater of WWII, who never made it to the age of 25 (and my terrible fears of booming fireworks every July 4th reminding me of the blast of the cannons that shattered that soul into death) – is it poignant that I have my birthday on November 11, veteran’s day? Hah! Just goes to show, you may be down, but never out! (And to think, it took me nearly 39 years to realize the significance of my birthday being on veteran’s day! I never really made the connection before.)
There was a lot to honor in this celebration … Other portions of the self, friends, family … At 40, I know I am moving ahead with something I lacked earlier in life (not creaking bones or aches and pains), but a greater awareness of magic, love, and the realization of just how blessed we all are to have each other on this journey, in this time, in this life, on this planet.
Now that’s a Happy Birthday.
Until next time.