It’s my birthday. That should mean something, right? I guess in some ways it does. A moment to pause and reflect on this past year, if nothing else. A time we can look back on our lives and examine how we’ve done so far.
So far? I’m happy. Pretty stinking happy with my life. Really.
In the past year I became a dad for the second time and it’s been a wild ride for sure. I get to watch my pre-teen daughter navigate middle school while discovering who she is and what she likes. My son is a neverending source of discovery as well, if not for him, for me and my wife as well.
Speaking of the wife, we celebrated 15 years of marriage this year in a crazy summer that saw us organize and hold an estate sale for her grandmother as well as travel to North Dakota to honor the life of my grandmother who passed away just a month shy of her 100th birthday. We didn’t do anything big for our anniversary, but that’s kind of our style…at least at the moment. She’s okay with a quiet celebration and with our bank account that’s probably a good thing. She’s an amazing woman and I’m thankful every single day I met her in the first place.
And our family continues to grow. We just adopted a new kitten named Cleo (Key-lo according to our son) and a new school year started for all of us. After being without a full-time pastor for nearly a year, our church has been blessed with a great new pastor and his family. Someone else mowed my lawn today and it looks better than it has all summer.
Yeah…life is good.
What? I didn’t mention writing or my books?
Well, those are great, but that isn’t all that I am. I have to know that if my arms fall off and I can’t type another word for the rest of my life, that what I’ve done and who I am has meant something. For the other three people in my house and the rest of my family across the country, I’m pretty sure that’s the case.
Don’t get me wrong, I love writing as well. Not just the writing, but the fraternity of authors I’ve somehow stumbled into. I can’t possibly list all the people who have made a difference on my life, but my LOOW writing group, the Future Chronicles group (including my fellow authors in Alien, Z, and Immortality), and the other random authors I’ve befriended have all influenced me in one way or another. I realized today when I got a birthday message from my buddy Logan Thomas Snyder that giving gets you a lot in return.
It’s like they say at Christmas: “It’s better to give than to receive.”
Logan wished me happy birthday, but then took the moment to recall his publishing journey and how I was a friend from the get-go. If nothing else, I’d like to think I’ve been someone willing to give along the way. Give a review, give a beta read, give some time to talk, give my efforts. I know time is a limited resource so I can’t do everything I want, but when I’ve had time to give, I hope I’ve done all I can do to help others.
Have I reached the level where I can focus exclusively on my writing? No…but I don’t think I’m at the point in my life where I would have to limit myself in terms of talking to and enjoying other author’s work. I like who I am. I haven’t had to sacrifice my values to reach this point and for that, I’m grateful. I’ve met some great people over the past two years and will treasure knowing them. I may not be on the same level as some of them professionally at this point, but that’s okay. I like me and who I am, and at 36 years old, that’s a pretty good thing to be.