—Meister Eckhart, thirteenth century mystic
Older than Jesus* and as blasphemous as The Beatles, today is my thirty-fourth birthday. And today I woke in a rage. She hates her life and what she’s done with it, Neil Young sang, my lament. But this is it, I diary on the bus southing down Mount Pleasant. Though I could name names, blame, as my mother taunted, When you point your finger, four fingers are pointed back at you. Now in my mid-thirties, I can’t renege on my responsibility to change those circumstances I despise, can’t blame others for my unhappiness. So, this is my birthday gift to myself: by my thirty-fifth, three hundred and fifty-six days from this, I will have changed the circumstances today I detest.
(In parentheses, a note to those who would point out how much I’ve already accomplished: It’s true I’ve changed much in the last years, even in short months, but the more I change the more I must — the more joyous, challenging, meaningful work I do the more I must to integrate these capacities into every facet of my existence, make them definitive of a life well-lived. It’s the split between this and that, at essence.)
*Apologies to the religious, but I couldn’t resist given my birthday is days before Christ’s death and resurrection, Easter celebrations in twenty-eleven.