Thirty-Seven

It’s my birthday today. How do I reflect on the past year? With this calendar decade coming to an end and a reminder with this birthday that I’m quickly approaching forty, how do I measure my life so far and the goals I had and have?

When I was a teen, I never expected to be here at thirty-seven. When I was a young man in my early twenties, I thought that I’d be in a much more financially comfortable position by now. As I approached thirty, my life swerved again and my expectations of being unencumbered and able to see the world stopped being a priority. Everything I had expected has either taken longer or pushed me down a different road than I had intended.

When I look back on my life and think about where I expected to be at this point, I’m super hard on myself for the things I haven’t achieved, the goals I haven’t met, but what really surprises me is how happy I am in my life as it exists today. I think that’s the thing that my younger self would not be able to comprehend. I don’t own a house. I am not raising children. I haven’t traveled to a bunch of exotic places (though I did go to the Philippines, somewhere I never expected). But, despite all of that, I feel very lucky, very fortunate.

I have an amazing wife. I probably have the best relationships with a larger number of family members than I ever have previously. I have an extended family that has helped me not only to be better, but let me lean on them when I wasn’t doing well. I have a career where I get to do something I enjoy and get paid well for doing it. I have an adorable dog that always wants my love and attention and returns it a thousand fold. I have wonderful friends that are understanding, patient, and supportive. Sure, I still struggle with my mental health, but for the first time since starting dealing with this disease, I feel like I have a much better handle on it than I ever have.

This is not the life I pictured for myself, but this is a good life.

While I am very uncomfortable celebrating my birthday, I am also extremely grateful for the wonderful messages that I have received not only today, but over the last year and beyond. The amount of support I receive from so many wonderful people has helped me more than my words could ever say. I am here because of all of you. I am successful because of all of you. I am happy because of all of you.

Thank you for the birthday wishes, thank you for your love and support! I hope in the year ahead we will all continue working together to keep improving our lives and increasing our collective happiness, come what may.

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