Today is my birthday, and looking back, I have so much for which to be grateful. And so, in a bit of a rambling entry, because I’m still recovering from this bug-thing, let me say thank you for the important things in my life.
My family, to start. My parents both worked, on opposite shifts, so that they could provide the best possible life for their children. My father has never, ever, let a setback keep him down long. He goes over, around, throughit to get to where he needs to be. My mother was incredibly smart, and she taught me to never stop learning, to explore everythin that interests you, no matter how obscure. To this day, my brother hints, nudges, and will outright push me to make sure I succeed. And my grandparents demonstrated exactly how much you could do even if you only had a little bit of money or a second-grade education.
I received an excellent education, went to Catholic grade and high schools, with an emphasis on college-preparatory courses — and the tuition was not cheap for my parents. They covered part of my college education and sent me to Penn State’s main campus, where I studied journalism, then on to a paralegal course. And my father supported me through four years of a law school evening program, and then another two years of a master’s program, with words of encouragement, and love, and yes, nagging when he felt I was maybe waivering a bit.
My friends, online and in the real world, are fantastic. They are with me through sorrow, and joy, with advice, and tissues and chocolate when needed. They never ask what I need — they know. And the simple fact that they are there, that I can call them for help, or to talk, or just pull them out for an adventure, means the world to me.
I’ve been fortunate enough to work with very smart people and to have a wonderful mentor. People who showed every day the right way to do things, how to make a solid plan for any situation, and how to deal when the plan falls through. How to juggle thirty tasks in one day with the two screaming emergencies that walked through the door around noon. And most importantly, how to face the defeat everyone inevitably experiences at some point in life with courage and class.
By this birthday, I’ve been to 37 of the United States. Not just flying visits. I’ve explored the Wisconsin Dells and the Grand Canyon, the entire Eastern Coast and the beautiful mountains of New England. Wandered the streets of Chicago and Baltimore, Philadelphia and Boston, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Savannah, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Richmond, DC, San Diego, Los Angeles and Phoenix. Stood in awe before phenomenal museum exhibits, like the original King Tut tour, manmade monuments like Mount Rushmore — and Thoroughbreds with names that echo in the record books. Some of this was thanks to my parents, and their belief that a vacation was a time to see something or somewhere new and exciting (and also thanks to an almost godlike patience for driving two bickering siblings in a car eight hours at a time). That sense of adventure now inculcated in me, I still pick a spot and go — and as a result, have seen how wonderful a country we live in.
And most of all, there are the amazing things that happened for no reason but the best of reasons. Things that I needed that just appeared — like a new sofa when I was unemployed and mine collapsed. My neighbor was moving overseas — and offered me her brand-new sofa. The person who called out of the blue with an offer, somone I didn’t know, but had been directed to me by a contractor with whom I’d briefly worked years ago. The unexpected check that just arrives in the mail — a refund on an overpayment from a closed account — at a time when I’d just gotten a large bill for a car repair. To who, or what, makes those things happen — thank you.
So, rambling a bit, courtesy of the heavy prescription I’m on. But I did want to take the opportunity to say a public thank you for everyone I’ve known, and everything I’ve received, throughout my life. I’ve been blessed.
Tomorrow, when I’m told the effects should finally be wearing off, I’ll be posting this year’s tasks. It’s — an interesting list.