It’s been almost three years since I’ve last written to you. The intention was never to go this long without sharing, but life and FaceBook has a way of interfering with the best of intents.
However, here I am just a few days after my 50th birthday. For five decades now, I’ve roamed this planet. Admittedly, I’ve put plenty of miles in, worn down many soles, and have broken off a heel or two. But even if I could go back to twenty-one with the lead that I now have, I wouldn’t. Honestly, there’s not a slew of things that I would do differently because making another set of decisions would just lead to a different path of detours, dead-ends, close calls and everything in between before reaching now. What I’ve learned is that the journey is inevitable; it begins at the point any decision is acted upon. It’s how one navigates the process that determines how far one goes.
For the most part, I’ve played it safe and flirted with risk. My career has spanned over two decades and has catapulted me into some great opportunities, but it’s far from my first choice. And, I’ve left my hometown three times now, just to come back. Yet, I still can’t promise that I’m here to stay. Life’s just too fluid to make such a vow.
My passport is stamped with many fond memories. I’ve gotten lost (literally) in Italy, scorched in Belize, argued with a native in the Dominican Republic (he tried to charge me sixty US dollars for a bath towel that wasn’t even plush), and ate Pie and Mash drizzled (such a tourist move) with eel gravy in London. I’ve had fun, but I’ve been disappointed and felt the sting of shame too. I’ve suffered through the agony of a stillbirth at one point and made a decision many conservative Christians wouldn’t approve of at another. There was a friendship or two that expired, a few jobs that didn’t pan out, and I still haven’t written that book. Yet, today I proudly stand.
Unequivocally, I am loved. I’m blessed with a mother whom I adore, a son who was kind enough to forgive me for not getting the parenting thing totally right, and a family with only a few members that I think about trading in every so often. (Beware though, there will be a holy war if you actually try to take them away from me.) I have strong friendships that span over cultures and decades, and a tribal family that rivals blood. And, in a few short days, I’ll be gifted a daughter through love who is intelligent and lovely and kind. That’s buttercream icing for me.
There’s nothing for me to complain about but much more for me to do. My expectation for this life is another strong seventy years (yup, 120 minimum), so technically, I’m not even middle-aged yet. But I’m wiser and happier. My tools are sharper, and my aim is more targeted. That’s the foundation from which I build upon now.
If you ask me what fifty years of wandering has taught me, it’s simply this: Nothing works unless I do; mercy is the ultimate demonstration of love; and, life is nothing to fear.
Happy 50th to me! Cheers!
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