Tag: Birthday

My Youngest Turns 16

My Youngest Turns 16

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Holy crap, my youngest child is old enough to drive.

She elected not to go write the test today, already having enough on her plate, but could have. Maybe on the weekend.

But my youngest child is old enough to drive. It’s crystal in my memory holding her for the first time, her holding my finger for the first time, the sheer amount of hair (with blonde highlights) she was born with, bringing her home from the hospital, and on.

It’s not so easy for me to wrap my head around the idea that it’s been sixteen years since that day she finally came into our lives. It should be easy. I’ve watched her pass from infant to toddler to child to teenager and now making the transition into wonderful young woman.

But she is my youngest child, so it’s not easy. Why would it be?

Hold onto the time while it lasts.

Be well, everyone.

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Happy Birthday To Me

Happy Birthday To Me

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Happy birthday to me.

When this posts, my 48th birthday will be very close to being over. I’ll have completed 48 full orbits around the sun and be just starting my 49th.

Seems like a lot, but at same time it seems like very little.

I don’t mean in terms of geologic time, obviously, but somehow it’s just a little bit hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that I’m closing in on being a half-century old. That’s a debate for another time, with the current point being that I’ve still got way too much I want to accomplish, I suppose.

I have typically reserved my birthday for a different kind of reflection, however. Once upon a time, there were two questions I asked myself every year on my birthday. In more recent years, I’ve added a third.

Question number one: was this the best year of my life so far?

Answer number one: In my head, I’m waffling, and saying that depends on what context I’m asking the question for. Which, obviously, means that the overall answer is no. Professionally, it’s been a good year, possibly the best of my career so far. New job, running the whole apartment, hopefully not sucking too badly at it. Personally, no. My children in their various ways are going through a lot, and my wife has had some issues as well, and I haven’t in my eyes been an adequate emotional support to the family; trying only counts for so much. Creatively, no, but not too far off: After a rough first half the year, I got myself back on track in a very productive way for the second half. From a martial arts perspective, perhaps. I successfully graded to third degree black belt this year, and I’ve started to pursue Kobudo a little more seriously, but it’s still a struggle to get in all of practice I want.

Question number two: what can I do to make next year even better?

Answer number two: From a personal perspective, significant events are going to be on my control, but I can control how I react to them and how I support the people around me. I can only do my best. Professionally, I can work hard to get good at my job, and I think I’ve already started on that road. Creatively, it’s mainly about staying on the track I’ve laid out, and pushing ahead with my goals and dreams. It’s long past time I made significant moves to get my will in front of people’s eyes, and there’s can be a lot of activity in that direction 2019: short story submissions, publisher hunts for some longer work, independent publishing for other longer work, some shorter things, poetry, elections, and maybe even some fanfiction in the Star Trek universe. Let’s not forget that I’ll be using multiple platforms, as well. Aside from what has become the traditional e-book platform of Amazon, I’ll be working on Wattpad, potentially another e-book platform or two, and hopefully putting together a store on my website. In terms of martial arts, it’s really all about the practice. I do feel the need to rededicate and refocus my goals to target that practice better, though.

Question number three: what am I doing to make the world better place?

Answer number three: that’s a damned good question. And not one that’s easy to answer or support. I try to be an appropriate, positive example to anyone who might be watching. I also do certain amount of slactivism: letters, petitions, and so on, online, but I don’t do nearly enough arguing with people in appropriate forums where it matters, and I need to step up my letter writing. I spend a lot of time being politically angry, but not enough time channeling that anger into something constructive so, I suppose my answer is not enough.

Anyone else use their birthday thinking about themselves or their lives like this? Or am I just way too introspective?

Be well, everyone.

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They Say It’s Your Birthday…

They Say It’s Your Birthday…

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusrssyoutubeby featherCongratulations to me, I’ve completed another trip around the sun. That’s forty-five now, if you’re interested in counting.

There are traditionally three questions I ask myself on my birthday. Well, there are traditionally two, but I added one last year.

  1. Was this the best year of my life?

2015 Answer: No. I got blindsided by several things this year, family members with various health issues that blew my stress level way up. Plus work stuff – we’re being taken over early in January – and a general feeling of burnout that’s probably just a net result of everything. And I’m beginning to think I may have a couple of small mental health things of my own to deal with. Well, maybe more than beginning, but life in general has brought mental health more to the front of my mind this year.

  1. What can I do to make this year better?

2015 Answer: Next year can certainly be better than this year, but the answer to question 1 at the end of 2016 will almost certainly be no. There’s a fairly good chance that my oldest child will be leaving home for university next fall, and any year one of my children leaves can’t count as the best year ever. Barring summers while he’s in school, and those will depend on his summer jobs, I’ve had him around for nearly all the time I’m going to. That’s hard. Actually, it’s depressing.

Self-pity aside, there are things I can do.

Staying positive will help. It sounds trite, and overly simplistic, but it’s a real thing. If you can manage to keep yourself looking for the good things and letting the less good things have less traction in your mind, you will enjoy life more. For those of us with overdeveloped senses of nostalgia and guilt, that’s harder, but just because something is hard doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pursue it.

My workplace is transitioning to new owners in a couple of weeks, and there’s a one-year plan for employees at all levels. That translates to my job being a 12-month audition. That audition may lead to bigger and better things if I put the effort into it. So I need to put the effort into it. I’ve got plans, but I can’t solidify all of them until the transition actually happens.

And I need to be what my family needs me to be. Primarily, this means available. My teenagers need a father, my wife needs a husband, my parents need a son, and more distant relatives may need smaller things. It’s worth noting that all of those needs are continually changing, but what they come down to is for me to be available when it matters, just to different degrees and in different ways for different people.

  1. What am I doing to make the world a better place?

2015 Answer: A great question, and I’m not sure I have a great answer, or even a good one. I’ve been more alert to the things I see as problematic in our society and world, but I still can’t figure out what to do about most of them. So far, I think my actions have mostly been small ones, but I’ve moved my mindset from angry about certain issues to thoughtful. I’ve made moves to contribute in small ways to certain ideals and causes, and I’ve tried to make sure I’m completely open about that with my family, and as open as possible with my friends. I’m looking at it that way because I think one of the best ways I can serve ideals and the world is to set the best example I’m able to for the people around me. How cliché is that? But being cliché doesn’t make it any less true.

So those are my questions and answers for this year. Anyone have any different ones?

Be well, everyone.Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Three Teenagers?

Three Teenagers?

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusrssyoutubeby feather12So today is my youngest child’s birthday. She’s turning 12. I’m not sure if you can count 12 as a teen year or not, but if you can, that means I now have three teenagers.

When I was a teenager, that would’ve been the furthest thing from my mind.

In my 20s, especially before we got married, kids were a distant thing on the horizon, at least until we decided we wanted them.

In my 30s, when I had those kids, when they were small, the teenage years still seemed comfortably far away.

Now, not so much.

16, closing in on 14, and just turned 12. Two-teen, right?

Okay, I’m reaching. But why is it necessary on each of my children’s birthday that I’m the one feels old? It’s a parent thing, I guess. I’m always nostalgic on my children’s birthdays. I especially feel it today. My littlest baby is a dozen years old. And she’s incredible.

And while I can’t wait to see how she turns out, I’m entirely fine if she stops growing up, too. Well, not really. I love her so much for who she is, but I won’t hold her back from who she’s becoming.

Happy birthday, Youngest. You are an awesome girl, and you will become an awesome woman.

Love, always,

Dad.

XOXOFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather