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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Birthday Posting

Random (and not so) observations on a birthday.

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I'm actually working on my birthday today, traveling on company business no less.  The last time I worked on my birthday? was a horrible day, as Eastern Airlines had declared bankruptcy and I had the joy of answering questions from "salty" mechanics about the status of their pension (something that, having been with the company almost 5 months, I was hardly in a position to do anyway).  When the day was done and after having debriefed by manager at the time, his response was classic:  "Know what your biggest mistake was today Steve?  You worked on your birthday.".  I've taken the day off ever since.

"Days turn to minutes and minutes to memories" (John Mellencamp, "Minutes to Memories").  Ever since turning about maybe 45, I honestly don't know, off the top of my head, my exact age.  It's almost surreal, as I have to actually think about it for a moment.  Good thing that 2016 is an even year, as it makes doing the math in my head (1964 to 2016) easier.

Growing up I don't recall ever having a birthday party.  That was fine with me, by the way, as back then (and now) I'm not much of a party person anyway.

Speaking of growing up, I have three brothers and we're all year apart.  I'm second from the top.  Once I figure out how old I am (see above) it's simple math to determine how old they are; the only hard part is trying to remember actual birthdays.  I have a horrible time remembering dates.  All dates, and it's not just about getting older either...I've always had this problem.  I think it has something to do with my span of attention in that unless something dangles in front of me I tend to not pay too much attention to it at the moment.  Dates included.  Especially.

One good thing about getting older?  I think you learn what truly is important in life...or at least you gain something of a better perspective.  Gifts and such are nice, but it's times like this when just a short message means a lot.

Growing older things begin to physical break, stress, fall out, thin out, hurt, ache and just generally not function as well.  Me (especially) included.  It's easy for that to be discouraging, but I try to keep it in perspective:  It could be...and probably will be...worse at some point. The point then?  I suspect it's that we all need to live in the moment.  Appreciate being able to walk, even if it's a tad bit uncomfortable, as you may not have that ability in the future.  Also appreciate those ailments that can actually be treated.  Life (and modern medicine) has given me more than one "do-over", and for that I am eternally grateful.

Speaking of "do-overs", in life I've learned that they aren't just about physical health and modern medicine.  Life gives us almost infinite opportunities to fix that which is crappy, re-align that which is out of wack, and chart a new course when the old one is taking us over a cliff.  You just have to be willing to:
a) Be honest...mostly with yourself...about the current situation.
b) Be willing to take an educated risk that the new maybe better than the old.
A life centered completely around "risk avoidance" doesn't seem like much of a life at all.  Life should be about thoughtful risk management.  Jumping out of plane is bad, unless you learn how to skydive and have a parachute, then (some) think it's fun.  Not me mind you...I don't like heights.

Speaking of thanks and thankfulness...Thank You to all who have wished me a happy birthday.  It means a lot.  I'm just glad it only happens once a year, as there's only so much attention I can actually handle at any given time.

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