So, I turn 51 tomorrow. Hubby turns 50 on Wednesday. Last year for our birthdays, we got a new President. Best birthday present ever!
In the last year my mood has gone from hopeful to somewhat frustrated, as at times it seems nothing changed with the healthcare legislation crawling along. But everything did, really. It struck me watching Mad Men last night, where the episode focused on the Kennedy assassination (a great show if you don’t watch it, and their best episode ever last night.) The episode really brought out how everything changed in that moment, how people changed their minds about how safe the world was, about their own life goals, about what was important to them. Children learned their parents could not keep their world safe, watching the drama unfold on television. Like 9/11, like those few minutes last year hearing Obama had won, the world changed forever. I was working the polls last year, and they went from incredibly busy to completely empty almost in a few moments, as many who had eagerly sought to vote decided it was over when Pennsylvania was called. Which sadly probably really hurt the gay marriage issue in California. But those who still came, just to vote for Obama anyway, they warmed my heart, bringing their children in to watch them vote, to be part of that moment and that change.
The changes in our own lives seem to come in moments as well — weddings, birth, anniversaries, birthdays. And death, accidents, injuries, and illness on the other side. But they really take time and sometimes are a very long time in the making. I set goals for myself this last year: losing weight, getting in shape, the usual. I haven’t lost weight, but am in better shape and take better care of myself in many ways. Still, it seems that no big goals were reached for me personally. We celebrate the big changes, the big moments, not realizing how we are working towards our goals along the way. We fail to celebrate the little, small steps we make forward, and sometimes, we forget to focus on those moments in between, the space between the big events.
I think about where I will be next year at this time, wonder what changes will take place in that year. But really, I wonder what I need to do, moment to moment, to live my life as fully as possible and to be myself as completely as possible. Those moments are the ones that will lead me to wherever it is I end up next year. I sit right now in a golden sunbeam, looking at a sticker on my board next to the computer that says “Yes, We Did — Together We Made History.” I don’t know what my equivalent will be for next year. There are other things posted on my board — the photo of the beach in Kauai where I released my parents’ ashes, the photo of a hotel in Ireland where we spent a memorable vacation, cards and notes from friends, reminders to be compassionate, to be who I am, to believe in the possibilities, to be aware of my direction in life, to act from the heart. Two golden retrievers lay by my feet. Stacks of books are at hand, my computer, my camera, and a birthday card asking, “Is this the birthday when you start asking yourself life’s big questions?”
Yes, yes, it is.