Thursday, January 28

‘The surprising thing about young fools is how many survive to become old fools.’ Doug Larson

Today is my birthday, my 43rd to be specific about it, and I want to talk about that a bit, but I also made promises last night on Facebook while watching the SOTU regarding today’s topic. This will be a two-themed blog entry then, so I picked a quote that can do double duty.

I’ve gone on record as saying that birthdays are one of the annual celebrations, along with New Years, that I still respect. That’s because it has changed so little over the years. While the last century has seen many of our national holidays turned into consumption orgies, birthdays and New Years always were ones, so I respect them for being unchanged by our worship of materialism, even if the compliment is backhanded.

Birthdays are, I think, kinda cool. Especially the milestones. I’m personally excited about 45, far more so than about 43, because the five-year markers are somehow more significant. I don’t have a really good reason for that other than that they are moments to be proud of in an “I survived 43 years and all I have to show for it is this crumby birthday” kind of way. It’s a “look at what I can do!” kind of pride, like walking on hot coals or eating a 40-ounce steak.

It’s more than that though, obviously. Time allows us the opportunity to either learn and move forward, proving that we are cerebral and intuitive beings capable of transcending the simple material and animalistic urges that drive our bodies, or contrarily prove that we are incapable of that little trick, and thereby dispel any doubt that were are little better than monkeys with refined tool-making skills. The population of the earth provides ample anecdotal evidence that both dynamics are at work, and if you look closely, even that both dynamics can be at work in a single human organism.

Take me for example. I am 43 today, and it is really only in the last year that I have foresworn the distractions offered to us by modern existence in order to finally pursue what it is I think I was made to do (or at least the part of it that I know about). And this in spite of at least three other pivotal points in my life that I can see, from the perspective of 20/20 hindsight, when the opportunity to embrace the real me was presented in full glory, yet was successfully ignored or lost. I’d allow myself to be distracted, get caught up in the hoopla and hubbub of all the baubles and shiny lights thrown at us to keep us entertained and mesmerized, and subsequently lose the mission. I have, at times, even been confounded by the shame I felt for not fulfilling my potential and reaching for my dreams. How’s that for counter-intuitive.

And yet, in spite of missing the opportunity in the past on several occasions, I think I’ve managed to get a good grip on it this time. I’ve never been poorer or, paradoxically, richer than I am today.

So time is a good thing. It provides a frame of reference that allows us to suggest and hope that it is never too late or too early to reach for something better, to become the ‘us’ that we have it in us to become, and to know that this ‘us’ is a destination we will never truly reach in the time that we have. It is always the process that is important, always the journey that makes the journey worthwhile. The only final place we will ever reach in this lifetime is death, so why are we rushing to get to the end? I hold with Peter Pan that death will truly be a great adventure, but I’m in no rush to start it.

I like my process, like it more every day I walk it and talk it. I like knowing that the more I know, the more I know how little I truly know. I like that I am finally to a place where I recognize that I know just enough to be a danger to myself, but that I have time to continue to learn, and enough experience to appreciate the opportunity.

So birthdays are good. I look back and see that I have been a fool, and now I’m looking forward to the process of becoming an old one.

Oh yeah, the other topic, the one I promised to write about last night: Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada. I considered doing a full blog on him, but a) couldn’t find the motivation to waste too much time on him, b) have deep-seated shame issues in regards to his position as Prime Minister of the country I live in, and c) feel I can say everything that needs to be said about him in a relatively small space. Here it goes.

He is an embarrassment; a democratic leader that has gone on record saying that he only needs 40% of the vote, which translates to approximately 25% of the eligible voting population, to retain power for his party, and that, subsequently, he doesn’t care about the rest of the people in this country. His only goal is maintaining his minority government and the privilege it provides to him, his party, and the corporate handlers that own his soul. He has driven Canada to the point where our fellow commonwealth nations have started a movement to expel us from said Commonwealth because of the draconian position that Canada has now taken in regards to industrial and petro-chemical development, green issues like sustainable infrastructure development, and international carbon controls. He cares for the Canadian public, for the nation he is sworn to protect and lead, not one bit.

He is an old fool, so I am assuming that he was a young one. Shame he doesn’t see it.

I may be looking forward to becoming an old fool, but at least I recognize what and who I am. I’d hate to be a fool and not know; to think that people respected me when they only hated and vilified me. Better to be a fool and know it, I think, than to be one and not know it. 

That would just be deeply, deeply  embarrassing…