July 16, 2019

What I would like for my 45th Birthday.

It’s my birthday, I’ll muse if I want to.

I think it’s just in the past few years

…that I began to understand how life passes us by. We’re young, and time seems like a theoretical thing. We miss a Halloween, no big deal, there’ll be one next year, and dozens after that. We miss a party, no big deal, we miss a concert, an adventure, whatever. Time seems generous.
And then, when we’re young, old people seem like a breed apart–they seem like old people. It’s only later, now, that we begin to see that old people are young people who’ve lived many years, and that those years are made up of events and cool summer evenings and work and relationships and bike rides, just as our days are.
It’s only recently that I see, that I feel, no longer theoretically, that I am who I was, a young man, a boy. And that who I am is who I will be, an old man (if I am lucky enough not to get hit and killed by a texting driver before my time).
It’s hard to talk about this stuff, because it’s obvious, and profound, and yet it’s silly. And yet–this is the part of life where we realize we are a part of the unfolding generations of not only human history but sentient existence, of interdependence, of ordinary magic, and that we are a part of this universe, not a starring story within it. And that is how death must feel, I imagine–a complete subsuming into the river that is existence, time, history, life and death.
But for now I’ll just say what every other wising-up idiot has ever said: that every day matters and that life is not short, but it only happens once, and that while we’re here it’s best to serve others and live kindly and confront conflict with learning and healing not further warfare.
I turn 45 tomorrow, an impossibly old age for a young man—I’m not sure how I got here.
But I feel good and as if I’m living and serving fully, though not helping near enough–and that makes me sad, and hopeless, as if the inspiration I share with others from the deep well of Dharma that I have been given is being used as mere confectionary powered sugar, instead of healing salve.
May the next turn around the sun be a time of service that actually helps this earth, all sentient beings, instead of more “trying.”
May I be lucky enough to fall in love, again, and learn further, and perhaps get to raise a family. I want that, but I come up short.
May I continue to get to travel, still so new at it, after so many years of being so broke and so busy–now I have enough money and time to do so, and grow up and learn and celebrate out of it.
May Elephant not only continue to survive the Google/Youtube/Facebook/Instagram/Amazon/Audible monopolizing blackhole, in which most other independent media has died, but flower in the Ecosystem we’ve been trying and now succeeding in building for 9 years, now—may we emerge to billions of readers and writers a month, so that we may actually fully help this wonderful, heartbreaking, fragile world we’re lucky enough to enjoy one life upon.
If you’d like to give me a birthday present, for free, please help Elephant get there—to that place where we can be of service to billions—the most effective, free way to do so is to do this one thing. Get our daily newsletter, and read the articles in it, or one of ’em, and leave a comment, and share something, or heart it, and help an author win and get paid by Elephant.

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Aastha Karki Jul 21, 2019 5:50pm

Happiest of the happy birtday Waylon! Beautifully written piece. My day feels incomplete without reading a few of the Elephant’s articles, sometime even re-reading it. Much love and good vibes from down under.

Allison Banbury Jul 19, 2019 6:13am

Happy Birthday! Elephant Journal has meant so much to me in the past year, both as a writer and reader. Thank you for bringing something beautiful into the world.

Marta Luzim Jul 19, 2019 5:16am

Happy birthday.. you are in the most juicy time of your life. So much to live and become

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Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of Elephant Journal & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat.” Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword’s Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by “Greatist”, Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: “the mindful life” beyond the choir & to all those who didn’t know they gave a care. elephantjournal.com | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, touches on modern relationships from a Buddhist point of view. His dream of 9 years, the Elephant “Ecosystem” will find a way to pay 1,000s of writers a month, helping reverse the tide of low-quality, unpaid writing & reading for free online.