Today is my 40th birthday. Leading up to turning 40, I haven’t felt any different, though some may say this project is my midlife crisis. As lockdown continued, I thought back on all the things that made me who I am today, the good and the bad. While much of this project is sharing the parts that seemed to shape me and how I think, for today, I wanted to focus on all the good and give a little gratitude, because there isn’t enough of it in the world.
I have had the privilege to travel to 26 countries and experience cultures full of vibrant traditions. Along the way, I met people who gave their time and shared perspectives with me, and we parted less as strangers and more as friends.
To the friends who have stayed by my side through the years, I’m forever indebted to you for your guidance and support. You’ve balanced my mind when I was uneven and set me back on my path when I went astray. I hope others have the kind of support I’ve had all these years. You are part of why I am who I am today.
To my family, close and abroad, I love you all. Thank you for keeping traditions alive and reminding me every day about the history of the world and of our family. While every family will say they are good, I know ours is great. We have many strengths, but we are also compassionate and empathetic to those around us. I am very proud to be related to you.
To my professional colleagues who became a second family to me through the years that I solely focused on my work, thank you for keeping me as sane as possible. Thank you for lending an ear for professional and personal support. The time you spent with me to realize how much I was investing in the wrong things helped me overcome the barriers that were holding me away from this project. I am so glad I can call many of you close friends now, and I look forward to where we will go from here.
My life has been full of adventures that I never really take the time to appreciate. I intend to change that moving forward. We should always take the time to pay our respects for the gifts we have received and those we have made come to fruition ourselves. It’s easy to think that the life we live is one we have been given but it’s much more in our control than we realize.
Have a purpose, choose wisely, own your decisions, and never stop exploring yourself and the world. Experience it all. Pay it forward. What have you got to lose?
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.