Today’s my 38th birthday, and I’m celebrating it by going out to Watercourse Way (a very romantic hot tub place with gorgeous rooms) with Mike, followed by dinner with a few friends at my favorite Thai restaurant.
I was mentally writing a long, deeply philosophical essay on life during my bike ride with Mike yesterday, but right now, all I want to do is dive back into CSS and HTML, so I’ll just say a few things:
- I’m very, very glad (and grateful) to be alive. I guess like anyone else who’s grappled with a major, life-threatening illness, I’m acutely aware of how precious, and how ephemeral, life is. My life has been saved twice by the kindness of friends and strangers, and that’s a gift I can never repay. I am also grateful for the drugs that keep me alive. To those who practice compassion and to whom I owe so much, thank you.
- I’m not too bothered by being another year older, although of course I wish I could be (physically) young forever. I feel satisfied with my life and what I’ve done with it so far; I wish I had another hundred years to look forward to, but if I were to die tomorrow I would feel that I had lived the fullest, most intense, most satisfying life possible within the time I had. And that is the standard by which I judge my life: did I live it? And I have. So I am pretty satisfied.
- What do I want for the next year, and for the rest of my life? I think this can be best expressed by an excerpt from a poem by Mary Oliver, from New and Selected Poems:
When Death Comes
When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse
to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle-pox;
when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,
I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?
When it’s over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.
When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.
I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.
I think that, for me, my personal goal, this year and every year, is to be “a bride married to amazement”. The world contains such wonders! and life is so short. So I want to live intensely, to feel intensely, to love and enjoy immensely each year we have.
Mazel Tov, and see you next year!