March, being my birth month, marks the approaching exodus from winter, and the entering of yet another year bookended by a birthdate. Measuring life via this yardstick was a celebrated day growing up. As an adult, it’s more one of mixed feelings. In these pandemic times, never a bad thing to celebrate still being “here,” but at a certain age, it’s also yet another year apathetically torn off the calendar of life.
No complaints here. I consider myself fortunate to be this far and confident I’ve a long way to go, but it’s still a poignant time of life.
I view existence as a horizontal timeline, one we move along slowly while hopefully pausing, noticing, and enjoying each day. Some people, however, see this same timeline like a sine wave on an oscilloscope, with even peaks and valleys we ride up and down, our birth day being at the top of these curves. I suppose optimists see it that way whereas pessimists it’s at the bottom.
Of the many things I’m grateful for during this birth month, my thinking and cognizance seem to have weathered well, and such pursuits are more important to me now than in my past. Oh, if pressed, I might admit to wishing I’d read deeper and wider, written more often, and pursued more learnings earlier. Had I done so, I wouldn’t be enjoying the renaissance I seem to have now with reading and writing.
If I were to sit and pen a letter to my younger self right now, what would I say? And if I could tell him only three things, what would they be? First, I’d tell him to stop worrying about where you’re going and focus on where you are. Second, I’d advise him to reach more outside his comfort zone to try different things. And last, I’d tell him to take better care of his body, especially during those dangerous years between our active twenties and the awakening from lethargy in our 50s.
But of course, that’s not possible. All I can do is take these lessons I would have shared with him and apply them to me: don’t worry about not doing them yesterday, nor planning for tomorrow so much, but simply embracing them today.