Reflections at 40

As I’ve aged, I’ve displayed more grumpiness, less patience with adults, and more appreciation for the human journey. I’m starting to understand why old people around the world generally say, “I would never trade places with a young person.” Sure it’d be nice to be able to dunk a basketball again or be care-free with nothing between me, a pint of ice cream, and Spaceballs on a Saturday afternoon. But I wouldn’t trade what I’ve got for the world.

I appreciate:

  • My vibrant, opinionated, caring family, up-and-down the chain, some of whom no longer speak to me, some of whom will return my calls, some of whom call at their own volition, some of whom mail me birthday gifts, some of whom I haven’t spoken with in years. Blood is thicker than water, which is weird and scary and comforting. I appreciate you all for who you are.
  • Lisa, Lucy, Ansel, & Elias – the people I love most dearly, whom I toil for endlessly, and who do their best every day to make the most out of the opportunities we’ve been given. I love you and appreciate you.
My family. I appreciate what each of you bring every day!
  • My 5 cats, one of whom refuses to live with us and has moved in with a neighbor family, 2 of whom sleep on my chest & head, respectively.
  • Mom & Dad, who had vision beyond their immediate environment and the foresight to make us weird. Thank you – I appreciate you both, and I’m trying to carry on the tradition!
  • My closest friends, whom I rarely see anymore but whom I remember fondly and near-constantly. There was the time Matt slipped on a real banana peel on the sidewalk and then to make a show of it, continued to slip on it purposely day after day until it was brown and hard and no longer helpful in slipping. How about the time Firooz honored me with a music video and the time we worked collaborated on the soundtrack to his own music video? Late night Super America rollerdogs with Jim. DC, Ryan (both of you), Megan, Bob, Colin, Bill, Colburn, Jesse, Kramer, my best friend/wife Lisa, and countless others who cause a smile to parse these lips as I write. I appreciate you all.
  • We lost Niles this year. I love him, and I’ll miss him. He always appreciated a good joke, and I’ll always appreciate him.

On my 40th birthday yesterday:

  • I woke up at 4:30 and walked a mile to Caribou Coffee to work for an hour, followed stealthily in the shadows by my cat, aptly named “Trouble”.
  • At 7am I was picked up by my family to resurrect a lost tradition of American early-morning-breakfast on my birthday. I ordered an egg sandwich, which came with a surprise salad, and it was all amazing. Thank you, Lisa & kids. Ansel stayed home sick from school, while I took Lucy to the bus stop before heading out for work.
  • At 10am, my Lume colleagues sang a very Lutheran rendition of Happy Birthday to me over Google Meet at the end of our weekly leaders meeting. It was fantastic, and I’m appreciative and grateful to have this team around me.
  • Then work work work. A call from Katybeth! Yada yada yada. I got home exhausted and immediately dealt with the hand I’ve created for myself, wallowing in my self-pity and the amazing gifts of life, health, and vibrancy that is all around me at home but for some reason mostly just makes me tired.
  • Lisa gave me a foot rub before heading off to bed herself, leaving me with whatever awaits upstairs with the kids’ bedtime.
  • For Ansel & Lucy, I read “Bad Kitty”, a “Foofa” book (which Lucy took a surprising shine to before I read it funny at Ansel’s command), and a “Frog and Toad” story. Then, sitting on the floor with the blue glow of my phone screen on my face and Fur Elise playing in Amazon Music (our go-to bedtime song), I listened as the kids breathing turned from short staccato to deep rhythmic, signaling that it is safe for me to go to bed, myself.
  • It should be noted that on Sunday I ate 3 bowls of cake + ice cream, received a gift of tea in the mail from Mom, and was showered with love by my family in the way of decorations, presents, & hugs.