Sunday, January 3, 2010

Counting Things That Count



"Not everything that can be counted counts, and
not everything that counts can be counted."
Einstein (outside of a birthday card)

"You are one of the things in life that's worth 'counting.'
Thanks for being a friend."
Margie (written inside the card)

DAY 86:  What a weekend and what a way to begin 2010 ... if I wanted to "wax hyperbolic" about it, I'd call it revelatory, but that's probably a bit of an overstatement.  Yesterday, I posted about my silent walk through a night when the universe and my life felt "right," on the correct course, in "syzygy."  Today, it's about a rather remarkable birthday, yet unremarkable at the same time.  A simple, happy day of birthday wishes, old friends, and reminiscing about what's truly important.

Today's birthday events ... lunch with Mom, a surprise birthday party for a 90-year-old birthday-mate, and dinner with a couple of my oldest friends. 

Lunch with Mom ... who could ask for more?  Me to my mother ... "Age doesn't really bother me." (... which is surprisingly VERY true ...)  Mom to me ... "Me neither, it's probably because we don't look our age."  BINGO!  And she doesn't look AT ALL like she's nearly 73.

Next ... a DELIGHTFUL surprise 90th birthday party for Mary Le, one of my most favorite people.  I've known Mary Le since the first day I set foot in Players by-the-Sea theatre over 25 years ago.  It wasn't long before we discovered that we shared the same birthday.  She's a spitfire and, though she may be a little feebler physically, she's still as feisty and funny as ever.  She seemed very happy to see me (and gave me a smooch that's now my profile pic on Facebook) and I was just as happy to share this celebration with her.  And what a life ... one of the first female Marines serving in World War II, created and ran her own T-shirt printing business, not to mention raising a family.  I felt honored to be there and it added to the fun to see old familiar faces from the early years of Players by-the-Sea, when I was bright-eyed, eager, and ready to take the community theatre scene by storm.

Finally, dinner with Marcia and Norma, an old friend I hadn't seen for OVER THREE YEARS.  We picked up as if it had been yesterday and the three of us sat, reminisced, and laughed for hours.

Making the day complete was a FLOOD of birthday messages on Facebook and online at the bulletin board of Sondheim.com (where I've been posting for years - a topic for a later blog entry) ... I was checking them all day long and smiling at every one.  What a way to recognize just how much you're appreciated, valued, and loved by SO many people!  

Some highlights ...
"I hope this is the best year of your life."
"Hope it's amazing, just like you are."
"You are one awesome teacher and we always talk good things about you."
"You and your talent are a gift to us all."
"May this be your best year yet."
"It's amazing how many lives you have touched.  On this day, a giver was born!"
"I hope you have a beautiful day, my friend!"
"Happy Birthday, dear friend ... Enjoy, prosper, and make music.  Broadway music, of course."
"Happy Birthday, my friend!  Remember: 'Every gift from a friend is a wish for your happiness.'"
"You are forever a star in my eyes."
"'Whatever with the past has gone.  The best is always yet to come.'"
"May this year bring you all the happiness you so richly deserve."
"Happy Birthday, sweet friend!  This is our year ... wait ... our decade!  I love you!!"
"Happy Birthday to the wonderfully talented and amazing Michael Lipp!"
"Happy Birthday, Teach.  To this day I thank you for giving me some love for science."
"You are Charlie Brown or Horton at heart ... so young, so carefree, so ... what you see is what you get ;-)"

What more can I say?

I'm an incredibly fortunate man.  I'm not going to say "lucky," because there is NO luck about it.  I've CREATED this fortune, this life for myself - I've created a career that satisfies me and that I love, a HUGE group of friends who mean everything to me and who value who I am, a home that I can call my own, a four-legged companion who gives me unconditional affection and devotion, a calm and caring family, a passion and talent for music and theatre that brings joy and meaning to everything I do - this isn't luck ... this is who I am, what I want, and how could I ever be truly dissatisfied?  Do I want a relationship?  OF COURSE I do ... Need it?  Of course not.  Am I lonely?  Sure ... at times.  Am I alone? ... are you KIDDING ME?

So ... I'm facing down the New Year, staring it straight in the eyes, and daring it to come at me with EVERYTHING it's got.  And I'm going to do that with a new outlook ... I'm worth whatever good things this life brings my way and to hell with the bad stuff.  This is the year when I ALLOW myself to accept and EMBRACE the gift of finally recognizing that I DESERVE every gift life has to offer me ... and there are LOTS of them.  I'm DARING you, 2010 ... BRING IT ... it's MY year and there's NOTHING you can say about it. 

Heck, I'm DOUBLE-DOG DARING YOU!

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