Is there a story to be told? Will that story be told to oneself, or to others? How will that story be presented? With gratitude and enthusiasm? Will that story seed plants of encouragement, and will the encouragement grow into a strong redwood tree? Will that tree be accepted in whatever stage and or season it is in?

what to do

Leading up to my 27th birthday, the COVID-19 pandemic was still in effect. So many plans and events and already been upstaged by precautions to prevent the spread of the virus. People have had to adjust their lives in order to reach social connections. Likewise, I knew that I would have to adjust my life. As well my birthday would probably be shamelessly out of the spotlight when the time came.

It was saddening that my birthday probably wasn’t going to be what I thought it was. I expected a few things to occur on my birthday that I was looking forward to. But in the end, what I originally wanted and desired wasn’t going to happen. So I had to change a few things and set up a different plan. I could adjust and still celebrate my birthday in a unique way.

So I wondered what to do. Was I going to just let my birthday pass and be just another day? I almost decided to do that. I could have one constant stream of quarantine monotony fed to me as I am confined to my apartment. That could be acceptable. The pandemic is a health risk afterall. I could cooperate with the idea that my birthday could be normal.

But I didn’t want my birthday to be colorless, dull, and grey. I did not want to slippily concede to the potential boredom. I wanted to do something unique, even with the restrictions that could be in place. Still, what could be done that I could remember and appreciate?

i had a couple ideas

Eventually, a couple ideas came to me. The first idea was a quiet idea, but it sounded good. It was that small creek you encounter on a hike. Not too loud, but ever so gentle to sooth the emotions. I remembered something I did a few years ago. I sent out compliment text messages. People were so appreciative of those thoughts.

So that made me think that what if instead of sending out compliments, what if I send out thank you messages? In essence, I could sort of follow the example of Jimmy Fallon with his thank you notes, although not in a sketch format and more serious. I anticipated that thanking people on my birthday could put me in an appreciative mood. I could think about the impact that other people have had on my life. That seemed like a very appropriate thing to do for my birthday.

The other idea popped up when I was brainstorming some projects to do. I had started an electronic journal in file formats. I put those files in a Raspberry Pi with technology that could help me access those files when ever, where ever, and with whatever device I am carrying at the time. So if I am already writing so much in these journals, what if I start to transcribe my written journals?

And so, my second idea for a birthday activity was to transcribe some of my written journals. In anticipation of doing this for my birthday, I had already transcribed a couple months of journal entries. These journal entries started about 2 years ago. And so I transcribed some of these entries on my birthday!

Let me say this, even though I’ve transcribed a couple months of written journal entries out of about 8 years worth of journal entries, it has been a valuable experience to go over what I wrote. I found the a small gold nugget, in the form of a journal entry, that was stored away for safe keeping. I remembered all the fond memories that came with the golden nugget!

With transcribing that journal entry, I had taught me. My past self was able to share wisdom, knowledge, and encouragement almost unwittingly for the right time. It was the right time because by reading that journal entry a small concern revealed itself. That concern slowly opened the door to my bedroom to notify that it’s pay was due. The small concern was uneasy with the way things could potentially go. Was all my effort for naught, and did I have to pick up and leave? Would what I did be remembered? Was I a good man? I taught myself through time, that I had no need to worry and my effort is appreciated and accounted for.

How curious, that I could find consolation in something that I wrote about 2 years ago! Heck, I’ve been consoled by something I had written 20 years ago! Would I not have remembered what I had already learned? Or did the student need to become the teacher? Indeed, journal keeping important events could very well be personal scripture. Journaling could be a mode to teach oneself, and in that way one is a student for all of life by their own design.

gratitude for life

How grateful I was on my birthday! The gratitude was like the life-giving morning rays of sunshine as they peek over the tips of the mountains. I have been surrounded by wonderful people that have had their small impacts on my life, including myself. I am convinced that the challenge that life presents is to be accepted and experienced, no matter the consequences.