If you are anything like me, then you might think of birthdays as a time for reflection, and for looking forward…also for beer (and possibly fishbowl sized margaritas). I’ve spent the vast majority of this (unreasonably balmy) birthday thus far at work, in meetings, seven hours worth of meetings to be exact. When I finally left campus, I was feeling relieved, exhausted, excited, and perhaps a little frustrated that I hadn’t been able to spend as much time in thought as I wanted.
When I pulled on to the street where I live, parked the car, and headed to greet my beautiful family in the house, I was confronted with two unexpected sights. Both stopped me cold. Both sent me deep into thought. The first upset and saddened me more than I can describe and the second gave me more joy than I could possibly quantify.
I realized (after I’d gone inside and poured myself a homebrew from the kegerator) that this was all the reflection and contemplation I needed. I am beginning my 39th year in a United States that has changed dramatically since my 1st year, and that has a LONG way to go to achieve some semblance of what might be called social justice. And I have two tremendous reasons to invest in that change, my spouse and stepson to be, with whom I share a mutual love so strong that it could not be described with all the chalk and all the sidewalks in the world. We live in a country too divided to see that #BlackLivesMatter and #CopsLivesMatter could, I will dare to say SHOULD, be two phrases that are ideologically joined by an “AND” not an “OR”. And I have been blessed with a career that allows me to teach, to facilitate education and perspective taking, two of the most remarkable cures for blind antagonism.
So…I got my birthday wish. I got all the contemplation I needed distilled into a few minutes (because this old girl is pushing 40 and I have little time). And now I can happily finish this beer and have another. I am so incredibly thankful for these 38 years. It’s taken me a while to figure out what I want to do with them. But now that I know, I really hope I get 38 more…because if I do, I’m really going to f*ck some sh*t up.