My significant other and I brought in my birthday late last night by watching “Val”, an autobiopic (is that a thing?) by one of my childhood crushes whose life has taken twists and turns both tremendous and tragic.
The film took us on a journey through his life up to now, the good days and sad days and things that made him angry and things that made him cringe. His conclusion, more or less, was that it’s been a life, a crazy life, and when the ghosts and the voices try to drag him down it’s never too long before the chorus of people who love him drown all of that out and remind him to be ever so grateful.
Which was appropriate, because every year on this day, I like to take stock of how fortunate I’ve been in the year past, and for the foreseeable future.
I’ve often had the thought, on this day at this time of year, that I’m grateful for my health, but that health is one of those things that you probably don’t really understand the value of it until you lose it. I’m grateful that I still probably don’t really understand the value.
Then I typically find my thoughts lingering on my family, by blood and by choice. I’m one of the lucky ones whose actual family is fiercely loyal and loving. Which makes my trusted inner circle — my family of choice — pure icing on that solid rock of a cake (hmmmm, who wants a cake that’s a rock? my metaphor could use some work).
And every year, without fail, I feel like I need a solid #3, a final item on my condensed “Things I’m Thankful For” birthday infodump, and I can never do it, because there’s just so goddamned many things that have done nothing short of rock my world, and as I contemplate the ridiculous amount of time that I’ve been drawing breath at this point in my history, I am filled with an overwhelming sense of deep appreciation and humility.
So here’s to you, dear Past and Present, for everything that’s been given and taken away, and to the Future, for everything that will come and go from here.