16,060. That’s the number of days I have been on this planet.
Give or take.
I’m celebrating a birthday next week, my 44th, and I really am happy about it.
I have an amazing life.
It wasn’t just given to me, I’ve fought for it. Fought against it.
Taken no prisoners, really, but lived as much as I could manage.
In the name of work, I’ve spent days on end languorously soaking up the guest experience at top-rated resorts across the world.
I once commandeered a cab in the middle of the night in Old San Juan in order to get my party home safely.
I’ve flown first class and ridden on the back of a Jamaican hybrid motorbike powered by a propane tank.
I’ve fiesta-ed all night with Dominican dancing machines in an underground London night club and coordinated the drop of a former Bond Girl from a hovering helicopter for a press event.
I’ve been front row at a New York fashion show featuring couture made completely of chocolate and I’ve answered fan mail for Will Lee, the bassist in Paul Schafer’s World’s Most Dangerous Band, of David Letterman fame.
My most considerable experience though is that of being a mom. A divorced mom. An uncommon mom.
That made me human.
That gave me perspective.
That helped me realize what’s important.
I have a girlfriend, Marideth, who is always very kind and generous with her praise for me, and it’s hard for me to just say thank you.
I cringe and wrestle uncomfortably.
All except for two days a year: My birthday and Zoe’s birthday.
My birthday is around the corner, so here we go.
At 44 I am above all else, grateful.
I am grateful that I have a healthy and happy child. That said child is brilliant and funny and kind and delicious, makes it even better. She is my night and day. I cannot imagine my world without her.
I am grateful that my family is close and that we support each other unconditionally. Even if we appear to be disjointed at times, it is only a thing, a snap in time, determined by mood or circumstance. At the very core, we are people who love, care and provide for each other and for that I am extremely thankful. I treasure you.
I am grateful for my friends who are the family I got to choose. I would not know how to function without you. You are the fingers to my hand. The beat to my heart and I am so truly blessed that I have had most of you in my life for decades. I am a loyal, supportive friend because of you. You have showed me the significance of having brothers from another mother or sisters from another mister, and I adore you.
I am grateful that my daughter is learning what it means to be a good friend and how important that is, from how she sees us. In addition to her Uncle Dalton and Uncle Gabriel, Zoe has so many Aunts and Uncles, and she knows what that means.
That is priceless in my world.
I am grateful for my MS. I count him as family, but I have to say that he accepts me for who I am and knowing that inspires me to be better and greater than ever. He is the reason why I started writing again, and I cannot thank him enough for that. I adore him.
I am grateful for the writing community I work with and around, including friends who blog as well. I learn so much from you. You are all fascinating and funny and out there making it happen in your own way. It’s exciting.
I am grateful that you, dear Uncommom readers, for allowing me into your lives. Hopefully you have learned or laughed, or let a few tears go, with me by your side.
It is sometimes hard work to face the responsibilities of being an adult, of loving each other, of being kind and serving your community, of raising children with or without a partner – I could go on. It’s better to know there are people out there who have been through it, or going through it too. There’s power in numbers. We’re in this together.
My father always says, “There are no short cuts,” and he’s right. (He really says “Shortcuts are for a-holes” but you get the idea.)
You can circle around the truth for as long as you can stand, but once you get right down to it, you get out what you put in.
Or as the Beatles said “And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.”
And I plan on making more love (smile), more friends, more posts, more positive impact on my world in this 44th year.
Thank you for being a part of my posse and for letting me be a part of yours.
Here we go…