It doesn’t seem possible – my 40th birthday is just around the corner! For years I had stressed about approaching this next decade, nervous that my mid 40’s would quickly draw near – an age that no one in the family who has had a heart condition similar to mine has lived past. It’s funny how a simple number can create so much stress and anxiety. To put it simply, I was completely freaked me out!! I felt like I was waiting for my expiration date to approach. But I didn’t want to be like that. Even though the fear of death in my 40’s still laid inside my head, I spent much of my 30’s bound determined to find ways to work through my condition so that I wouldn’t end up with the same fate. What can I say, I have been and always will be stubborn and will push myself to the limits rather than give up and throw the towel in. Regardless of what was going on in my head, I had to go above and beyond just to prove to myself and others that even though I was “sick”, I could still do everything a normal, healthy individual could do. Don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of times of frustration, but I have always tried to remain optimistic. Wouldn’t you know, that stubborn attitude paid off! My health has improved slightly and the thought of an expiration date in my mid 40’s has subsided. The big 4-0…an age that I had been scared of has now become one that I am actually looking forward to. Through various types of therapy and the love and support of family and friends, I have cast my fears aside and I am ready to live life to the fullest; ready to live on through my 40’s, my 50’s and many years beyond. Age truly is a number. It’s time to forget those numbers and simply live. New opportunities await each one of us and new adventures are ready to be had. To my fellow friends and family also hitting a milestone this year – forgot those numbers. Set some new goals and dream some new dreams. One decade of your life may be ending, but a new one has just begun. Embrace it and enjoy it.
Happy Milestone Birthday to all those having one!!
It is not death that man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.Marcus Aurelius
A few short weeks ago, while many were spending their day with their fathers to celebrate Fathers Day, our family gathered with my father to celebrate not just a day to remember him as dad, but also to celebrate his 60th birthday! As a child, 60 years old seemed ancient. But then again, my father, is a bit old-fashioned himself. With his hobbies and lifestyle, he is a man that seems to have stepped right out of a history book. We grew up on a small farm, raising a variety of different animals, from ponies and oxen, sled dogs, goats, sheep, rabbits, ducks, and more (ironically, never all at the same time). My father carved his own yolks and bent his own bows, starting small and using them on the baby steers. As the steers grew, so did the bows and yolks that dad had to make. He used both oxen and ponies to pull farm machinery around, despite the fact we had my great grandfathers tractor sitting in the barn. He taught us kids how to milk goats by hand while he turned what was collected into our very own goat cheese, since the taste of goats milk on our cereal wasn’t something that us kids could get used to. He wanted nothing to go to waste, and tried to teach us that anything broken could be fixed (although somethings we tried to convince him that some things were simply beyond repair). Now that he is retired, no longer does he “play” with animals, but rather he spends time giving blacksmithing demonstrations and dressing up in old-fashioned clothing, sharing his knowledge with others and exhibiting his skills on the anvil. Over the years, he filled our heads with numerous childhood stories of things his brothers and sisters used to do growing up on the family farm, repeating most of them on numerous occasions, always reliving the moment as if it just happened yesterday. Although while we were growing up, my brother and I would often say, “Here he goes again..”, knowing the stories nearly word for word that he was about to share, as adults, I think we have realized that dad’s memories have taught us some rather important life lessons. Now as adults, the words my father shared, we can now pass on to our own children; words about History, traditions, hard work, and so much more.
Without a doubt, I have learned plenty from my father. He will always be my Papa Smurf, and I’ll always be his little Squirt.
Love you, Dad!!