Monthly Archives: August 2014

40.

dadI didn’t wake up today and feel any different. I don’t look different than yesterday, I don’t feel different. Today however, at around 4am, I turned 40.

For as long as I can remember, people have made jokes about being 40. There are the black balloons, the Hallmark isles full of silly cards. But I don’t feel any different. Perhaps a little reflective, maybe nostalgic. I remember celebrating 30 with my oldest friend and her then-husband and my then-wife at an Olive Garden somewhere in Mesquite, TX. (I think?). She had tiny daughters who are now driving and looking at boys. I had more hair, less grey and less experience. So life has changed quite a bit in ten years but then again, not much has changed at all.

mom_jenI feel grateful to have made it to this age. When my own father was 40, he was fighting a losing battle for his life and would be gone by age 42, something I think about often when I need to be humbled. After he passed, I remember armoring myself with thoughts like “He lived a long time!”  To an 8 year old, 40 is a long time but we know that is just not true. I cannot fathom his battle or my mother’s.

me_handI feel lucky to have so far lived the life I want to live. I have an amazing mother and sister, both who inadvertently taught me to be the man I am simply by being strong women. My career is in demand with both Amazon
and just last week, Facebook, trying to recruit me into their fold. I am surrounded by many wonderful people and I have side-lines that let me do what I love such as DJ’ing and Photography with a career that is flexible enough to allow pursuit of them. I have worked hard to get where I am, nothing was handed to me but I am also lucky to have had support from family and friends. However, when all of these things start inflating my ego, I just remember the fight I watched my father battle when he was my age and I remember it can be taken away without warning.

noraThis post isn’t depressing, it is elating. I am excited about the rest of my life. Scared? Perhaps of the unknown but I come from strong people who always made it work and therefore I believe I will.

Because I like lists, which you know if you follow this blog, I’m inclined to create one (or two?)  here.  These are burned into me, are part of me. I can recall them vividly any time.  Some will be vague, some will be recognized only by a few and perhaps some by no one else but myself. So.. Here are my top 20 (that I can think of at the moment) favorite life memories in no particular order.

20) – A trip to Galveston when I was 20 to meet a girl I met by chance in Dallas who was on a trip from Illinois. We spent the night on the beach just talking and I never saw or heard from her again.

19) – Meeting Ghost for the first time.

22171_1306031206313_8312790_n18) – Bus trip to New Orleans with a bunch of crazy kids and a similar trip to Orlando. (two for one!)

17) – The Belton trip.

16) – Yard work with my dad and learning to cut the lawn.

15) – Geeking out in my room when I was 8 or 9 with my babysitter in front of a Commodore 64 writing “games” from the back of a magazine in BASIC.

jessshawn14) – All the music that my parents played on vinyl in the house. Mostly Motown. Best gift was mom finding her collection and gifting it to me a few weeks ago. I’ve been listening non-stop.

13) – RV trips with my grandparents. Or visiting them during trips, I don’t rightly remember if we actually traveled in the RV.

12) – Sledding a toboggan at Pecan Knoll? Ridge? Park something.. (Mom will know) – In Illinois when I was a kid.

11) – My first day at my first “big boy” career job.

10) – Meeting my niece Nora for the first time.

313404_2464320602824_1096512190_32904960_1913039468_n9) – My first scuba descent into the ocean.

8) – Watching deer eating at dawn just outside a glass door in a cabin with a wide-eyed child sitting next to me before anyone else woke up.

599600_10151132877486454_1445420220_n7) – A concert with a favorite band and friend in Deep Elum during it’s hey-day.

6) – My first Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

cel5) – A certain swinging chair in Scarborough Faire in the middle of the afternoon after a bit of Meade.

4) – My 21st birthday at Detour with my best friend and twisting my ankle jumping off one of the aerial dance floors.

linds3) – The first time I ran a 10k (8 mile) race without walking. Still working on that half!

2) – My mother sitting across a table from me when I was a teen explaining some life lessons that have never left me and are a foundation for who I really am.

1) – The helicopter. I know if you are reading this, you’ll think “WHY THIS?!” but it changed me. I doubt I’ve ever thanked you for it, but it did.

…and at least 10 things I have left to do:

 

10) – Space Tourism.

9) – Taking my mother someplace she needs a passport for.

8) – Running a half marathon (Only 5 miles to go!)

7) – Completing my DM.

6) – A couples trip with my best friend.

5) – Ice scuba diving in Antartica.

4) – Thru-Hiking the entire John Muir trail.

3) – Leaving IT for good and building a wedding venue business.

2) – Teaching Nora to drive stick. (Assuming manual transmissions still exist) :(

1) – Building bottle schools in Nigeria or Ecuador.