Friday, December 12, 2014

45 is the New 45

I often like to reflect on my life and the life around me through words. I am a scientist by training not a writer, but if you know me well, I am also always thinking, observing, and connecting life's little dots.  Today on my 45th birthday, I am thinking about many things.

I was tempted to come up with a witty and "in denial" slogan like "45 is the new 35" or "45, the it year." Ultimately, I settled on the fact that age "45 is, well....just 45." Many say this is a milestone age, but I don't see it that way. Humans are fascinated with numbers and increments. For example, if a baseball player hits 499 home runs in a career, he is "meh," but if he hit 500 home runs (just 1 more), he is a hall of famer. 45 is a nice increment of 5, but in reality,  it is basically no different than 44 or 46.

I am very content with this age. I have a great family, a career that doesn't even feel like work, amazing friends, and a reasonable portion of health. For all of these things, I give thanks daily.

I grew up in a loving home with a single mom listening to records (e.g. the 45's). I developed a love for all styles of music listening to these records in my room in Canton, Georgia. This period was very important in me developing my own interests, styles and perspectives and being comfortable with them.

It took about 45 minutes to get to Atlanta from Canton, Georgia. Who knew that the woman that would I would meet decades later was living 45 minutes away and would be the future mother of my children, even though we would meet at Florida State University under somewhat random circumstances, depending on whom you ask.

My 11 year old daughter sees it differently :).  Over breakfast today, she said, "Daddy, you are old."  On the opposite end of the spectrum, many colleagues view me as very young for some of the professional accomplishments I have achieved. I guess it is all relative. For me, the bottom-line is that 45 is, well........ 45.

In 45 years on the planet, I have seen a lot. Learned even more. And hopefully shared some knowledge too.

If I take 4 and 5, add them together, I get 9. My Alpha Phi Alpha pledge line had 9 members on it. Those guys are my brothers and mean more to me than you will ever know.

45 years ago, NASA took a giant step in scientific and technological advancement by sending humans to the moon. Ironically, some of my formative career and personal years were shaped by my own career at NASA.

Did you know that 0+1+2+3+4+5+6+7+8+9 = 45. This is probably a little known fact and seemingly coincidental or random. But, there is logic in this express too. In 45 years, I have learned that life is a mix of randomness (car accidents, poor decisions in marriage, opportunities, new friendships,) and logic (making choices, attaining education, grounding yourself in some type of faith, and just not doing dumb stuff) for all of us. Unlike the math expression though, we don't always know what that mix of logic and randomness will equal.

Like everyone, I have experienced sheer joy, utter heartbreak, doubt, jubilation, fear, regret, hate of others, and uncertainty. Yet, it all shaped me. Though still flawed, I am also blessed. I wake up every with a positive outlook on life and a childish passion to see what the next hour will bring. Negative energy is draining and I don't like it or to wallow in it.

I wrote this over a plate of Spicy Thai Noodles. It captures my thoughts on this so-called "milestone" birthday, which we will celebrate all weekend. It just captures my random thoughts, but perhaps it will also help someone put their birthday or "any day" in perspective too so that we celebrate each day.

I am headed to the Atlanta Hawks NBA game tonight. I hope Horford or Korver will score 45 points on the Magic.

But, I will certainly take 44 or 46 points just the same :)

1 comment:

  1. Maybe the sum total of the points scored by Korver, Horford, and a slew of bench players will equal 45!! Haha. Enjoy the game happy birthday, youngster!