This week I will celebrate my 45th and final “birthday”. What am I really celebrating? Let’s be honest Mom and Dad did most of the heavy lifting from procreation to graduation. If anything I was counter-productive, a net-loss for most of those years. I’m not bummed or angry, I never dreaded a birthday and never feel older, they just don’t seem like a milestone. That changes now.
I take responsibility for making the coming year remarkable, next year is not a party about the passage of time, but a celebration of a year’s accomplishments. How many milestones can I run past this year? Imagine if next February I filled out an Annual Fitness Report on myself, the same evaluation I used to receive as a leader of Marines. Take a look at the PDF linked here and as your read through it, reflect on the time since your last birthday. Since none of us have a commanding officer, how would you score if your spouse, friend, pastor, employer, employees evaluated you?
Why now? Why is this the last birthday? In 2007 I received the blessing of getting to spend wonderful quality time with my father in what we knew were his final weeks. He was ill, but not in pain and in perfect command of his mind. He lived a full life, a meaningful life of eighty three years. I found myself momentarily alone with him in the hospital room, kind of a family shift change. As we talked about my wife and our announcement that we were having twins, he looked away for just a moment and said to no one in particular, “It all went so fast.” It made an impression. Since his passing, I left the Marine Corps, the kids are older, I worked a corporate job and started my own business doing what I believe is my calling and still, it doesn’t feel full throttle.
Best case, forty-five from eighty-three makes thirty-eight. In my first thirty-eight years I went from pooping in a diaper too wrapping up a career as a Marine Officer with a loving wife and two beautiful babies. Now I work the system with intensity and focus, time to live the next thirty-eight like the first was a warm-up. This time next year I will celebrate and the best part, I have no idea what I will celebrate, but it will be way better than I clocked another year.