Today is my birthday! I’ve now made 66 trips around the sun. I thought I’d engage in a bit of calculating, so I came up with a few things to measure. Over the course of the last 66 years I have:
taken approximately 624,938,400 breathes
had approximately 2,081,376,000 heartbeats
traveled approximately 39,142,756,950 miles
(38,544,000,000 miles for 66 orbits around the sun
plus 598,756,950 miles for 24,090 rotations of the earth at the 45th parallel,
which does not include whatever distances I crawled, walked, drove, and flew in the past 66 years)
lived in 11 states (some of them more than once), 18 cities, and 29 houses/apartments
visited 38 states and 5 other countries
been touched by the lives of more people than I can count
been blessed to share life with three women,
been gifted with 7 daughters (none of whom I am biologically related to),
and 7 grandchildren.
experienced overwhelming loss
and moments of pure ecstasy.
made more mistakes than I usually care to think about,
and had occasions when I shone like the sun.
In other words, to borrow a couple of lines from Jimmy Buffett’s song “He Went to Paris”, “Some of it’s magic, some of it’s tragic, but I’ve had a good life all the way.” 2,081,736,000 seconds seems like a long time to be alive, and yet not nearly long enough to share love with the people I care about. The good news is that I’m not done yet. In his book “Illusions”, Richard Bach put it this way, “Here is a test to find whether your mission on Earth is finished: If you’re alive it isn’t.” So, for now, in this moment, as I begin my 67th trip around the sun, I’ll pause to celebrate my very great good fortune to be alive in this most amazing world, surrounded by such remarkably wonderful people. Happy birthday to me, indeed!
And, as a PS to this post, if you are inclined to give me a birthday present, I invite you to step outside your comfort zone and begin living into the grandeur of your own true self. Be bold! Be daring! Take risks! Try something you’ve always wanted to do, but fear held you back! Be fearless! Make a difference in the world in your own unique way! As Howard Thurman put it, “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” Knowing that someone read these words and then did that would be the best present ever!