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July 15, 2020

It’s my Birthday today. Guess how old I am? ~ Waylon H. Lewis

It’s my Birthday today. Guess how old I am?

 

For further reading: How to Celebrate one’s Birthday in the Buddhist Tradition.

I’ve lived half my life, officially, by any generous estimate. I’m 46. If I live another 46, that’s 92. So the question is: 

Is my life half full, or half empty? 

The first half of my life—so full of blessings, of challenges, of mistakes, or successes, of wasted time, of adventure and hard work and, overall, a wholesome existence.

I grew up dirt poor, in terms of money, but rich in privilege—education, safe streets, a loving momma who raised me while working various jobs and exhausting herself, but still so full of love and care for me and this planet and her community.

I went on, through reading, to love writing, and excel at schoolwork, gain a full scholarship to a pricey school, and then, when I was literally counting quarters and close to homeless, I jumped into what would become Elephant. And I found success, though my home nearly got foreclosed on and I lost everything I’d created when I took it from magazine, online.

I wrote a book! I befriended a dog! I gave up car culture, and stuck with riding a bike! I went vegan, and loved it.

The next 46 years? I’ll be grateful for every one, though they seem to fly by more quickly and quietly with every revolution of a season. Knowing no year, no minute is guaranteed, I’ll continue to work to slow down and fulfill my presence in this ephemeral moment. I’ll write books, I’ll bear children, I’ll seek to serve to be of benefit—whether that means politics or writing or, simply, working a farm in a refuge up in the mountains—I do not know.

Perhaps misfortune will befall me, a rock falling out of the sky (or, more likely, a truck flattening my bike), tomorrow, and this will be my good bye. That wouldn’t be bad news. This is life. Life is death. Life is precious. Life is love.

Here’s what I mean. The Buddhist Four Reminders. Carpe Diem. So: love what you love, and hold it tightly, but let go, too, and hold it gently. Wish me luck.

If you’d like to give me a present, and keep us going, Elephant needs it, and Elephant is transitioning from a big blog to a platform, so that we may be of real big benefit, with or without me. Help me and our writers and our editors and staff get it there.

By riding with us, along the way (click here, if so inspired).

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