Life doesn’t always turn out the way you planned.  Mild understatement, right?  How many of you are doing the exact thing you set out to do way back when? I would guess not many. How many of you are exactly where you thought you’d be? I know I’m not. How many of you are actually living the life you dreamed of when you were a kid? I didn’t think so.

The reason for this introspection is because my dear brother has come upon a milestone birthday, and it hasn’t been easy for him. As you get older, birthdays, in general, get harder to celebrate. You run from them kicking and screaming instead of embracing them like, say, when you were 21.  It’s just a fact of life that once you reach a certain plateau, birthdays basically suck.  I know this one has been an especially thought-provoking challenge for him.  My bro’s life has taken some very defined twists and turns, and where he presently is, in some respects, is nowhere near where he aspired to be. And as you get older, it’s hard not to take a look back and question yourself ad nauseam as to how the hec you are where you are instead of where you thought you’d be.

I think the question to be asked is, even though life didn’t turn out the way you planned, are you satisfied with the way you have accepted how it has turned out?  Do you count your blessings?  Do you appreciate what you do have?  Are you thankful for the people in your life who surround you with love just the way you are?  Do you tell them that you love them? Do you take the time to go outside and breathe in the fresh morning air and then thank God that you can walk and breathe?  Do you appreciate and see the beauty in nature – like that gorgeous yellow sunflower that sprouted unsuspectingly from a wild seed below the bird feeder?  Did you notice the vibrant colors in the spectacular rainbow that followed the storm of the century? How good was that cup of coffee you just finished?  Isn’t it nice to have clean, fresh clothes from the washer and dryer?

OK, I know you can hear the corny music swelling in the background as I get carried with the trivial. But I think happiness is being aware of and thankful for all the trivial things that mesh together to make up our lives. And, yes, it’s hard to see the sunflower when the economy is choking you and you don’t know how you’re going to survive if something overwhelming awesome doesn’t happen soon. And why is it that the love of your life is taking so long to get here?! You’ve just got to keep the faith and know that things will eventually turn around.

My brother is a good man.  He is kind and generous to a fault. He has certainly stretched his dexterity to the breaking point by taking my family under his wing. He’s my Rock of Gibraltar.  He has listened and counseled me tirelessly through a truly crap time. He has given me refuge in a time of dire need.  Without him I doubt that I would still be standing.  So, even though he may not want to, I am celebrating his birthday and appreciating him for what he has done for me!

Thanks, Ken, not only for the major stuff I mentioned above, but thanks for dragging me around every Halloween, when ditching me would have speeded up your ability to obtain so many more Milky Way bars.

Thanks for waiting patiently with me every Christmas morning so we could descend those steps to see Santa’s treasures together.

Thanks for the hours of fun in the snow, building forts and plummeting me with snowballs until I froze into an icy mess. In case I am ever called to be a member of the cast of “Survivor,” I’m prepared.

Thanks for not mocking (too much) my “Girl from U.N.C.L.E.,” Yardville branch, spy club.

Thanks for untying Tommy so I could run before he killed me when I failed my knot tying exercise.

Thanks for winning me the orange “Glug” on the boardwalk in Seaside.

Thank you NOT, however, for the impetigo you gave me in second grade. Although I have to admit it was fun being quarantined with you for two weeks playing games and drinking chocolate milk. Plus, we got out of school, so I guess a thank you is actually in order after all.

Thanks for telling that guy in high school I liked him, even though it was probably embarrassing for you and even though he turned out to be a jerk.

Thanks for crying at my wedding rehearsal. (Although, I should have been the one crying, had I known then what I know now.)

Thanks for being the best and most generous uncle ever to your two lucky nieces.

Thanks for being kind to my pets, even when Bella stained your rug…whoops…

I raise my glass to you, dear brother, I tip my hat, hope and pray that the coming year will be blessed with your heart’s desires and all your dreams come true. And when it’s all said and done, I hope you will be the lucky one and that your life will truly turn out exactly the way you planned.








About susezit

~ Expressing random thoughts and issues is my thing. ~ I’m complicated. ~ I understand quirky. ~ I'm a work in progress. ~ I've discovered I'm pretty strong. ~ I'm trying to become the me I've always wanted to be. (Essays are original works of the author. All rights reserved.)

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