As some of you know I have another birthday coming up soon. I will have survived 40 complete revolutions around a ball of gas bigger than myself on October 9th. In regards to this, I have been asked by several people if I intend to have a big shindig to celebrate this milestone.
My answer is always the same; I flatly say “No”. Why is that, you may be asking… Let me cast some illumination on the subject at hand for you. Growing up the way I did, holidays like Christmas were less than stellar events, with people fighting and walking and eggshells trying to avoid each other at all costs and birthdays were even worse. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not a buzzkill, but to me personally birthdays are not that big of a thing.
I survived another 365 days living, what can be arguably called an easy 1st world life. Really, is it so much of an accomplishment to have survived this long in a place where food, shelter, medicine, and modern conveniences are readily available? Not really, now had I cured some disease, or developed some radical new way to solve a problem that plagues the world, I would have cause to celebrate, but merely surviving, that is no real reason for a big celebration.
I will however mark the occasion with quiet dignity, and perhaps spend time with a few chosen friends. I feel no need for gifts, as I can pretty much buy whatever I want for myself at this point in my life. If someone decides that they want to get me a gift, I will not refuse it, but there is no need to go out of your way to do such a thing. I’m just as happy to have your company as I am your tributes.
I know there are plenty of people who will not understand my stance on the subject, but I’m sure there are just as many who will just get it. My hope these days is that if someone wants to get my a gift make it a donation to a worthy cause in my name, or better yet, go out into our community and find a person who could use a hand up and help them out; no strings attached. A random act of kindness to a stranger in need would be just as good, if not better, as donating money to a cause in my opinion.
A few years back there was a movie called “Pay it forward”, while the movie itself was just OK, the subject matter was excellent. Now anyone that knows me can tell you that, I don’t believe in many things that are intangible, but in the past few years I have really seen that our actions have consequences and what we do know will be reflected back at us in due time. Whether you want to call it karma, fate, serendipity, destiny, certainty of circumstance or kismet; the simple truth is what goes around comes around.
OK, I know it seems as I have veered off the tracks of the subject matter, but stay with me and you will see that we are indeed still on course. If I could have just one wish fulfilled on my or for my birthday it would be this:
For one day follow the advice of two fictional characters, Bill and Ted. As Abraham Lincoln said in the movie “These two great gentlemen are dedicated to a proposition which is as true today as it was in my time. Be excellent to each other.” I’m not going to attempt to dictate what that is to anyone. Everyone must decide, on their own, what it means. For some it may be a simple act of kindness, for others it may mean going out of your way to help someone out. For some of the people out there simply saying thank you to someone for a change would qualify.
So there it is. I have laid it down. Will you pick it up? I don’t and most likely will never know, but I can say this: If just one person takes the initiative and decides to “Be Excellent” to someone else, it will come back to you. It may not be immediate, but be assured that making life, even the tiniest bit, more shiny for someone who is in a dark place is good for you. Try it some time, often, or even just once. The world will thank you in its own way.