HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME (and you, too)

It takes a long time to grow young.
Pablo Picasso

June 8, 2009

I was born 63 year ago today. Almost exactly nine months after the official surrender of Japan, August 15, 1945, on the battleship U.S.S. Missouri, officially ending World War II. Germany had surrendered a few months earlier.

I had never thought about it too much until few days ago, but I was conceived in the very first days of peace, after six years of the most devastating war in human history. What a start.

Each one of us has our own story. Each story has its own trajectory. And we are often too close to our story and/or too busy in our lives to see its fullness. So I am writing about this anniversary of my birth as a reminder to me and all of us to remember and celebrate this life we have been given.

l want to start the celebration by thanking all the Allied soldiers, marines, sailors and airmen who fought to make the peace–the ones who didn’t come home and the ones who came home, their lives forever changed. Their sacrifices allowed me to be able take peace for granted, for most of my life.

I said, most of my life, because in my 63 years we, sadly, haven’t learned how to put an end to war.

These words by Pete Seeger sing out to me nearly every day:

When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

We haven’t learned yet. And that’s one of the hardest parts for me on this birth-day celebration.

But there is a ton of sweetness that buffers that pain. A ton of sweetness that allows me to wake up every day, thankful for being born on this June day, 63 years ago, nine months after World War II ended.

I was born with the belief, deeply encoded in my DNA, that despite the darkest darkness, love and peace could and would prevail. Today, on my  63rd birth-day, I celebrate the opportunity and the responsibility to exercise that belief. That is what keeps us young after all the years.

For me and everyone I know, there have been days, weeks, months and sometimes even years when darkness seemed to take the upper hand. Love and peace were on the ropes. Today, I celebrate the power of love and peace.

Each of us was born into our own story. We all have been dealt certain circumstances–and we have created others. Our life’s story is a complex blend of the cards we are dealt and how we decide to play them. A good hand doesn’t guarantee a win. And a bad hand doesn’t a guarantee a loss. And the game goes on–every minute, every day.

Today, I celebrate my birth-day. I celebrate being given the chance to play the game. It has been the ride of my life. It has been my life.

And in the spirit of birth-days, I want you to celebrate yours, too. Today and every day.

L’Chaim–to life! Happy Birth-day–to us all.

Have a great week!