“Your baby brother turned 50,” my cousin recently remarked and “how old I must feel”. Nope, I do not feel old, nor do either of us act older. In fact, both of my brothers and I, and a brother from another mother, had the opportunity to celebrate the ringing in of the second half of the century. I do not remember what we did when my dad turned 50 (I would have been 22). I do not think it included being away together, enjoying some music and “eating and drinking like kings” in 80-degree weather. As far as I am concerned, my journey…our journey through life is hardly nearing the end cycle, as there is still more to see, do and experience.
One would think that the easy way, at this juncture in life, is to start to plan for winding down, do the things that are safe and comfortable, and “reaping the seeds that we have sown.” F that sh*t, man! While I am still able, capable and have the energy, I am still taking the steps that Lao Tzu stated in the famous quote, “the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” I still believe in trying new things, working towards getting out of the circles that define us, and erasing the “ruts” in our lives. We recently finished watching the two seasons of “Better Late Than Never” with Henry Winkler (b. 1945), George Foreman (b. 1949), Terry Bradshaw (b. 1948) and William Shatner (b. 1931). The cool thing is that these guys, at their age (along with the comparatively young Jeff Dye), are willing to have new adventures, to travel to places they have never been and to experience new (and sometimes unusual) things. A “reality show” that truly is inspiring.
At this point in my life, I travel to and from the airport by car – it is what I have always done and is comfortable. For my brother’s birthday celebration, it would mean going from work to Florida, then being back in the office Monday morning; a quick adventure. I decided to do something different for me – for the first time, I traveled from work to the airport by train. By getting out of my routine and making this happen, the payoff was going to see the greatest living banjo player (according to ranker.com, behind the legendary Earl Scruggs), Bela Fleck, with his talented band the Flecktones. This was followed by an evening of birthday celebrations. The next day, we got to surprise my Dad (not an easy thing to do) to a wonderful dinner. Another great night before the next day when we had a great lunch eating like Neanderthals at Joe’s Crab Shack before each of us starting to head home.
We are busy all the time, I get it. But we need to sometimes step back and enjoy the adventures before us. It is all about the journey, and in having multifaceted lives, the journeys can come from different directions. We are never too old to step outside the circles that we draw around us. So, for my brother, traveling along his journey of a thousand miles, his birthday was merely a mile marker along the path, a place to pause, a stop along the way. One can look back and marvel at where they have come, or more importantly, look forward to the horizon and continue the epic journey that lays ahead, towards new experiences and adventures.