Today I turn 41 and I’m blown away by all of the Facebook messages, emails, calls, texts, and the one smoke signal. I can’t believe only 365 days ago was my 40th birthday, a monumental day not because of how astronomically high that number is but because of its significance in my life. A year earlier I’d decided I wasn’t on my true path and I needed to make a drastic change. I was doing exactly what society always told me I should do – settle down, put all of my energy into a career, chase money, and fill my life with a lot of nice, shiny material things. But the epiphany that I wouldn’t be around forever led me to reevaluate what legacy I wanted to leave the world. So I “unplugged” my life, sold or donated all of my possessions, and moved down to Costa Rica to chase my life-long dream of being a writer.
Once I got down to the little seaside village of Tamarindo I set three epic goals to accomplish by my 40th birthday. By February 9, 2012 I wanted to:
- Be in the best shape of my life.
- Be happy.
- Write a book.
But achieving those goals wasn’t even the best part - at the end of the journey I looked up and realized that there were so many of you walking along with me; wonderful, caring, warm-hearted friends, who I all consider family in my heart no matter if I’ve known you my whole life or just met you over a beer at a beachside bar in the tropics. To be carried by a thousand hands is a feeling that never fades.
I still have nothing in my life. I have no money, no house, no car, no paycheck, and no job. By society’s standards I am persona non grata. I have no real home and everything I own fits neatly into a duffel bag (if I sit on it to zip it up) and yet I’ve never felt richer in my life. All of that space I’ve created can be filled with people and experiences and truth and good energy, day by day. You could hand me the keys to a mansion or a brand new car today and I’d give it right back to you, because it would pale in comparison to what you’ve already given me.
I’ll continue to write for the rest of my life in hopes of achieving my legacy, my humble service to humanity. For I have a crazy idea that we can somehow come together and make this shared experience called “life” a little bit better for everyone, especially for those of us who are having a rough go of it and need a little help. That’s all I want. The only gift I’ll ever need is the opportunity to keep walking in that direction into whatever storm comes next, with you all by my side.
So thanks for all of the happy birthdays, the feliz cumpleaños, and even the alles gute zum geburtstags, but most of all thank you for being on this journey with me.