It’s my birthday and I’m feelin’ good

I just woke up this morning, and I started the day with a warm glow. I feel happy, proud, hopeful, and grateful. Today is thanks to all that others have done to keep me alive; today I am proud of all I have accomplished, all that I have done to take care of myself and keep myself alive from one day to the next; today I accept another number after “I am”– a badge of courage, a badge of success, a badge of survival. I’m even proud of my mistakes today; you know why? Because I lived through them, I learned from them, and they helped make me who I am today. This morning I’m awash with a feeling of acceptance about my whole life– all the good times, bad times, successes, failures, finds, losses, smiles, tears… every moment of my life so far has brought me to this point, and look! I’m alive, I’m happy, I’m hopeful, and I’m grateful.

Today is a celebration of my mother’s carriage of me to term — of her decision to have me — and of her successful birth of me. My mother died last October, but if she were still alive, she would once again say, “today is my birth day,” and she would be beaming with pride in me and love for me. Well, mom’s not here this year, but I’m loving myself for her. I’m proud of myself for her. She and my father and God and everything-and-everyone made me. Today is a celebration of me– this unique individual, this creature, this person. There is not, never has been, nor never will be anyone else exactly like me. I’m special, I’m loved, and I love myself. Today is a very good day.

Mom saved my childhood gift

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Had my first good cry since my mom died. In the bottom of her handbag, I found a brand new white coin purse with plenty of coins in it, but I also found this old leather coin purse I made for my mom when I was seven years old. It had only two coins in it, and she didn’t need it in her handbag, but she kept it in there anyway. It — I — meant that much to her.

I remember a time before… yet where are we now?

I started thinking tonight about how I remembered a time before every town — nay, every corner — had a Walgreen, Walmart, Starbucks, CVS, Dollar General, QT, 7-11 (are there 7-11’s anymore?), Circle K, etc. Then I realized it was September 11th and it would be wrong not to add that to the mix. Well, this is not a Nine Eleven post, but it’s on 9/11, so I will add to this that, unlike anyone eleven years old or younger today, I remember a time before 9/11. I remember a time when we called the World Trade Center the twin towers. I remember when Philippe Petit walked between them on a tightrope. I remember a time before the twin towers. I remember a time before motion screen billboards. I remember a time before wrap billboards. I remember a time when billboards were rolled out in paper and the strips had to line up just so. I remember a time before Apple. I remember a time before Microsoft. I remember a time before the iPhone, the iPad, Google, AOL, Facebook, Twitter, Quora (I don’t even use Quora), social media, sexual harassment (as a term)… although I remember hearing a joke about Catholic priests and choir boys at summer camp when I was 10,  in 1977, just before this movie called Star Wars came out. So let’s say I remember a time before people said they were shocked that Roman Catholic priests were molesting and raping boys– I remember when it was so well-known there were jokes about it. Hypocrites.

Hmph. As I was saying… I remember when I had never heard of Starbucks. I remember the first time I saw one I was vacationing in Seattle in 1990. Within a year or two, they were everywhere. I remember when a tweet was a sound a bird made, blah, blah, blah. I’m 45. It’s not so old.

And yet, you know what else I remember? I remember when I was in first and second grade and being told we had to learn the metric system because we would all be moving to it. Whatever happened to that, huh? I remember when we were going to go solar in the 70s. Whatever happened to that? I grew up watching 2001: A Space Odyssey, Star Trek, and Space 1999. I thought we would be living on the moon by the end of the twentieth century and in space by the twenty-first. I also grew up believing in and praying fervently for World Peace by the Year 2000! (Soka Gakkai) How about that world peace? Well, if we can’t even switch to the metric system…

I am not a man who is shocked at all this “newfangled technology.” I’m a boy who grew up expecting a world bigger, better, greater, and more peaceful than what we have now. I hear it’s patent law and trademark and copyright and litigation that’s holding us back, and I’m not surprised. I see trillions (is that enough, or is it quadrillions?) of people burned, bloodied, killed, wasted, and wounded in war, killing, destruction, neglect… I see money stolen from the middle class and given to the rich while the poor have less of a chance of becoming middle class.

We have such great technology, it’s both awesome and terrifying. When I see what filmmakers do with technology, sometimes it restores my faith in humanity. A lot of what people do with technology in social media, photos, videos, words, music– these things restore my faith in humanity. I suppose I should count us lucky that our whole world hasn’t been demolished, and I do! We are lucky, and I guess we are doing something right. We have a long way to go, though. It’s not too late to adopt that metric system, go solar, wind, water, clean energy, sustainable. It’s not too late to make this world the great place we thought it would be when we grew up. I think I have an idea for tomorrow morning. I’m going to wake up and ask myself, “What can I do today to help make this world as great as I hoped it would be when I was a boy?”

The “what would you do if you found cash” scenario just happened to me

I just saw two $20 bills on the floor in the airport in a long walkway between two terminals. No one behind me or ahead of me except a pilot who saw them too. I wasn’t going to just leave them there! I could actually use the money right now, so just in case it was meant to be manna from heaven I pocketed the bills. To be fair, though, I went to the nearest paging assistance location to report the money to lost-and-found. Then the pilot walked up with a guy and said, “This is the guy who dropped the money.” So I said, “Okay! Here you go.” Glad it worked well for all concerned. I feel sort of icky about picking up the bills, but if I had left them there, someone less honest than I might have taken them and not reported it. I guess I did the right thing.

What would you do?

P.S. In a weird turn of reciprocity, I left my laptop on the plane, which I’ve never done before, and was able to claim it the same day. No damage, no identify theft, all good. Thank goodness for honesty!