Over the past ten years or so, on the night of my birthday and New Year's Eve, I've taken a moment of quiet time to reflect on life past and life ahead... this year was no different.
This year, the amazing and talented Kelli Owen threw me a surprise party a week earlier than my birthday. While Ron Dickie kept me occupied at the York Emporium bookstore, everyone gathered in my garage and I have to say I was humbled at some of the people who had made the journey to share in love and laughter along with me. Drew Williams drove a long way to get here (though he was sorely missing his heterosexual male life partner). Kevin Lucia found out that the drive was a hell of a lot shorter than he thought. Mike Lombardo showed up and gave me a burned stripper's g-string as a present (the stripper was unharmed. I think.). Ice bat and T-Rex puppet (that I had waaaaayyyyy too much fun with later. After mucho tequila) popped up for attendance as well.
My cousin, Kristie, started the ball rolling on my roast by filling everyone in on family secrets that only those in the ninja ryu I attended as a child were privy to. Brian Keene gave scathing insight about what happens to a man's physical body as they age. Dave Thomas worked his way around the crowd, taking turns at those in attendance with a razor's edge. John Stapleton pulled his laptop into play and gave a presentation (including a photo of me that is utter ridiculousness) that would put Mad Men to shame. His wrap up made my eyes get glassy (thx, ya bastard). Tim Baker listed off the arm's length worth of nicknames I've had over my life. Doug Metherell poked fun at my lack of facial hair, and complete inability to play sports, among other things. Joe Branson went off on an improv roast that left me feeling used and cheap. Ron Dickie, red-faced and glass in hand, made me giggle like a school girl and made me question why I ever stole him from Tomo in the first place.
Then Nikki McKenzie gave her roast... not so much a roast as a sweet poem (there's a reason why she's going to be one of the best new writers out there soon, mark my words). Her roast made my eyes glassy as well (almost had too much salt water in the ocean, darlin).
Mark Eaton had a smirk on his face as he gave me a beer cozy as a present. For a 40 oz. Feeling hardcore, I drank that later and didn't pour any out for my homies, cause they were all there anyway.
Susan Scofield was there, along with Alethea Kontis and the fairy goddaughters. Dave Stapleton and his lovely wife Beth. Tim's amazing wife, Melissa. John's incredible (but freaky lookin in contacts) wife Becky. Matt Blazi busting my chops about Michigan... and the usual crew of the Green Couch.
And more than that, the Four were back together again - John Stapleton, Doug Metherell, Tim Baker and myself. These are best friends I've known for going on 25 years - they're brothers.
There were many drinks, many laughs, and many socks (I guess you had to be there) and it was a night of magic.
I needed it in the worst way.
See, turning 40 isn't really impacting me. Age never really has, for that matter. I was never one of those kids who can't WAIT to turn 16... or are just dyyyyyying to turn 21.
40 is just a number to me. I don't suddenly feel like an old man or that my life is half over or anything like that. My world view has changed significantly over the past ten years... age is relative. And I put a lot more emphasis on the mental aspects of age than I do the physical.
I'm not old, but physically, I am not a young man anymore. But mentally and spiritually, I am young.
All of you keep me young... you are all the light I see on a dark day and I love each and every one of you more than you can imagine. Thank you all for coming to share the day with me... some amazing, hilarious presents, socks, but most of all, sharing yourselves with me. The spark you all carry collectively is amazing...
Yesterday was my actual birth date, and I spent the day relaxing in the backyard pool with cold drinks and a handful of friends. The day ended with a spectacular sunset and lots of laughter.
Thank you Kelli for an incredible day... I love you more than words and can't thank you enough.
As midnight closed in, I sat by myself and thought things over. Pretty amazing life. Lots of good things are starting to happen in the very near future. I breathed in the summer air and looked at the dark sky.
No stars were out, but it didn't matter - I'm lit from the inside. We all are.
We just have to have quiet moments of reflection to remember it sometimes.
June 27, 2011