November 24, 2009

Happy Birthday: Revealing/Reveling

Today is my birthday.

In person, I'm always completely open about my age and will offer it without hesitation. I'm not a believer in lying about age; it's pointless because you're exactly as old as you are, no matter what you say, and there's no shame in proclaiming your actual age. Maybe this is due in part to my looking older than I was as a teen (which was good then) and then looking younger than I am as an adult, but it's just a strong belief for me.

However, I've been less forthcoming here and I was reflecting on that earlier today. I think the reason is two-fold: First, once it's laid out online, it's a fact frozen in time. Second, people often have preconceptions of someone based on their age, and that's something you can't overcome online because you don't "meet" them and see their personality.

I can't change either of those things, but I've decided that it just doesn't matter to me all that much anymore. Mellowing with age? Perhaps.

Today is my 42nd birthday and I'm happier with who I am than I have been at any other point in my life. I'm grateful every day for my family and my friends, both those I see in person and those with whom I interact solely online. I've come through a huge change in my work life and I'm finding my way just fine. The landscape of people in my life has also undergone changes, some of which were hard to take, but all I can do is appreciate the time I had with some people and not lament their absence. Are there some things that are missing, things that might make my life even fuller? Sure. But they don't diminish the person I am today. I'm not defined by them any more than I'm defined by my age alone.

So Happy 42nd Birthday to me. Here's a toast to number 43 and all those beyond, with a nod to all those behind.