Lucky, lucky me. It’s been a great day, and as you can tell from the picture, here we are, Freida and me, by the fire under a full moon, so that’s a fine life.
I’m all for celebrating birthdays, even tough ones. They’re our personal New Year’s Days, relatively unique markers of our own year around the sun. Most years are quiet ones, with strikes and balls and base hits and home runs. This year was a little more dramatic. Forgive the baseball metaphor if you’re not a fan of the game, but I think it’s the most elegant organized sport, and it is, after all, World Series time.
Anyway, to beat this metaphor a bit more, I’m headed back to the plate for the next four seasons with a refreshed sense of gratitude and some beliefs that will carry me at least until this time next year.
I’m most grateful to friends and family, by blood and by choice, who’ve been my rock in one of the toughest years on record. There are literally dozens of people I am able to call in a crisis for help, and I don’t think it gets much more real than that. May they all feel as though they could call me for help any time. Any time at all.
I’m grateful for this past decade, most of it with Charles, whom I still miss every day and who curiously shows himself in the most interesting ways as an ever-present force of nature. In spite of everything, and perhaps because of it, I am profoundly grateful for our years together. I wish we could talk like we used to, but I’m now accustomed to talking with him in different ways.
My dad, who has also gone to the Great Unknown, once told me that people can’t change; he told me that as people age they just become more of what they were when they were young.
Pop, you were wrong. People can do both, and that’s kind of the job of living: to change what doesn’t work so well while diving headlong into what does. My first therapist told me in our very first session that I was the angriest person she’d ever met, and I’m pretty sure I left that person back on 98th & Riverside Drive in NYC about 20 years ago.
Anyway, I think birthdays are a good time to think on this stuff, so here’s a little more of the stuff that’s on my mind. Manifesto-like. I’m not much of a woo-woo kind of sharer (at least I hope I’m not), but at my age, after this brutal year, on this fine night, I’m going for it.
I am a devout Agnostic. I don’t know what I don’t know and I’m perfectly comfortable with that. I wasn’t always, but I am now. It’s the not knowing that keeps me curious. I’ve seen my fair share of inexplicable marvels and little miracles for which I have no earthly explanation—I experienced one today—and I’m grateful for anything that keeps me on my toes. I have no idea how these things happen, but I don’t need to know or believe in any one thing have my socks knocked off and make me giddy with delight.
Still, I realize that I cling to a number of unimportant convictions, unnecessarily (cause, well, I’ve got my story and I’m sticking to it). For instance, I believe Shark Tank is the only reality show worth watching, and Coke is better than Pepsi, and my dog Freida is the best dog in the world without exception.
And I believe that when you have a series of three or more items in a sentence, there should, in fact, be a comma before the “and” at the end of the series. For example: You are awesome [COMMA] you are totally awesome [COMMA] and you are totally fucking awesome.
I believe the Myers-Briggs personality indicator test is a much more accurate barometer of people than a horoscope, but horoscopes are sexier. For the record I’m an INTJ… and a triple Scorpio. Oh yes I am.
I believe that the sexiest things in the world are a good question well-asked, talents well-used, a dry wit, and a giving nature.
The sexiest occupations in the world are firemen (d’uh), followed by inventors and data geeks (more specifically, epidemiologists).
Politicians are at the bottom of the list with the possible exception of Canada’s new Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau. Jury’s still out on that one.
Some of those are pretty superficial beliefs. Here’s one that’s not.
With every birthday, I’m more urgently reminded that time is a non-renewable resource, and if we’re not doing all we can to live lives of meaning and value (however we choose to define that), then we’d better get on it because like the Man says, nobody gets outta here alive.
So everybody has a job to do, and that’s figure out what they’re here for and quit messing around. My fingers are crossed that anyone reading this is already on that trajectory.
If not, don’t hope it will happen, cause hope ain’t a plan. And don’t think setting intentions in your morning meditation will get you where you gotta be, either. It’s a pretty great practice for a whole set of reasons, but great intentions don’t produce outcomes by themselves.
Only the doing does it.
So if you’ve got a big, fat, fucking itch to do something, go scratch that sucker like your life depended on it. Doesn’t matter what it is, just remember the Wisdom of Yoda: “Do, or do not. There is no try.”
That’s my mantra for the coming year. (And I write this on the eve of releasing the new album, a really good one, and yes, you’ll be enduring endless posts about it I suppose.)
Hope you have as a great a year as I plan to. And thanks again—sincerely—for the birthday wishes. Lucky, lucky me.
P.S. – Hillary Clinton is also an October 26th baby, and I’m pretty sure she’s in for a great year as well.