Today is my birthday. Again. I'm another year older. Again. This might seem like the most obvious outcome of having a birthday, getting another year older, but I'm really rebelling. Maybe by the time I'm 24 + 6 (see last year's birthday post on Lindsey's brilliant math for old people) I will have succeeded in overthrowing the oppressive tyranny that is the onward march of time. Or at least the onward march of the persistent gray hairs that have suddenly started popping up on the top of my head lately. They're tenacious little soldiers, too, let me tell you; every time I think they're eradicated, more pop up. They're like roaches. I'm too young for this nonsense. It must be stopped.
Isn't it illegal to get gray hairs before you're thirty-five?
At any rate, the fact remains that today I am a very annoying 24+2. This is not a good number. This implies that I'm on the near side of thirty - or 24+6, for those who are adapting to the new and much more geriatric-ally friendly system - and the fact that I am on the near side of 24+6 also implies that I am on the near side of 24+death. This disturbs me greatly. I have not yet published my novel, finished my Ph.D., composed my symphony, run my marathon, climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, or done anything else of note on my list of things to do before I die. Well except go to China, maybe, and I'm afraid that that might have actually helped to move me a little closer to old age by causing me to age prematurely. You try riding in a taxi cab in Shanghai and coming away without at least one new gray hair. I don't think it's been done. It might, in fact, be impossible.
And yet with as much as I joke about my impending demise, in reality I'm finding that in some ways this year my birthday is giving me a lot of opportunity to reflect on my life. So much has happened in the past year, it's absolutely incredible. I may not have run a marathon, but I did run two 5K's. I haven't finished my Ph.D., but I've been accepted to grad school and gotten a fairly decent fellowship to help pay for it. I may not have climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, but....ok, admittedly I don't have anything for that one. But I'm working on it.
My point is, God, I love my life. I love waking up in the morning. I love breathing in and feeling the air pass through my lungs. I love the sunrises and the sunsets and the rain and the sunshine. How could anyone believe that life is anything but incredible? How could we not cherish every passing moment as the perfect miracle that it is? And along with it, cherish every person that passes through those moments? What if heaven is actually right here in front of us, and we're just not looking at it? I have been so, so blessed. I have so many people who love me and care for me, so many really close and beautiful friends. I was born into a world of limitless opportunities, where I've never gone hungry and I'm allowed to be educated and I have freedoms that most of the people in the world only dream about. I've seen so many things and places and met so many people. Sometimes I feel like the luckiest person alive.
The only thing that depresses me is how powerless I feel sometimes to share that, to reach out to others who haven't had the same opportunities, the same love, the same enough-to-eat that I have. Am I doing enough? Am I doing everything I can to make the world a better place? This is the one thing that really does make me feel like I'm aging, I think: this feeling of impotence. There's so much good left to be done in the world, the thought of it exhausts me.