Friday, July 27, 2007

9 + 40

The clock is just a few minutes before midnight and the 20th anniversary of my 29th birthday is just a few hours away. There was a time when, at 6 something AM, I could expect a call from the woman who gave birth to me, announcing in an amazingly cheerful voice, "Happy Birthday". Well, it might not be precisely at that hour, but sometime during the day she would always call without fail.

Of course those days of premature awakening are long gone as she is no longer with me. Oh, how time catches up with this mortal coil. Only 1 year shy of 50 and I begin to feel the weight of the years that have passed before me. Yet I am lucky to be catching up on that half century mark and still be stronger than my parents who are no longer earthbound and able to pass to me the knowledge, or lack thereof, they managed to gather in their lives.

Strange how the passage of time reminds us of opportunities passed by or those yet to come. At 49 years, 394 days I realize that I still have dreams unfulfilled and opportunites yet to come. I am an opportunist at heart. My cup is always half full and the horn of plenty has much yet to offer. Feeling the weight of those years and those to come I alllowed myself to succumb to a possible mid-life crisis and buy a motorcycle. Not any motorcyle, of course, but a 2003 Harley Davidson Sportster 'Hugger' 100th Anniversary Edition. Call it a a midlife crisis, or perhaps, my belief that I'll live to be 120 years old. Call it what you want! Who gives a f#)K! Who can say for sure? The Sportster sang it's siren song and I answered. Now it is mine and I am not one to look back and second guess myself.

Of course there is more to turning 49 than a midlife crisis and a motorcycle. Birthdays have a way of making you take stock of where you have been and where you want to go. The years of my youth, and I can now say my youth is in my past, afforded me many opportunities, some passed by and others grabbed with both hands in a strangle hold. I have very few regrets and many unfullfilled dreams to pursue. I am a romantic by nature and an opportunist always ready to reach for the golden ring. Life is an adventure and I am ready to forge down the road less traveled.

There are those moments which I will never know and wish I could. I often find myself wishing I could pick up the phone and call my mother or father, but their flesh have long been since disconnected from this earth. My 'Nana', in her final year, often told me of missing her mother who had left her when she was only twelve years old. I think in her final years, Nana missed her mother more than any year before. Strange how, as we grow older, we miss the days, and the loved ones, of our youth.

O.K. There may be a regret or two. Who doesn't reach their 49th birthday without a regret. I have always said that life's decisions are based on the moment. Looking back I can truthfully say that, for the most part, I have few regrets.

Looking forward there are some things that I would like to change. I would like to have more connection with my family. And I have a very big family. Some I haven't even met, although these past seven years have allowed me to make connections which were not possible before. There is an extended family on my grandfather's side which has accepted me as one of their own. Then again, there are closer ties that have been lost, yet may be regained again.

My mind wanders. Let me take this opportunity to thank those closest to me for their support. My wife Wendy, who accepts me, my strengths and my weaknesses, with no question. She is my rock! She gives me strenth in moments of doubt. She supports me when I need it and confronts me, again, when needed. My sisters, Geriannn, Julie and Sandy, to whom I am the 'Older Brother'. They are my sisters and my children and I love them without question. To my parents, Walt and Joyce, who gave unconditional love. Their lives were flawed but full of life's lessons on what not to do with ones life. Thelma and Ted, my grandparents who were always there for me, always supported me, with no questions asked. My Uncle Ted, who recently passed, who taught me lessons even though I didn't realize it at the time. And all of my exended family, friends and collegues who are there, supporting me, day to day.

49 years. 71 to go. My glass is half full. Almost.

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