Today I am the same age that Bobby Kennedy was when he was shot (a few months after I was born), and the same age that Elvis was when he supposedly died.
I can still remember getting the newspaper from my family’s driveway as a nine-year-old that August morning in 1977, seeing the headline regarding the King. So much of life was still ahead of me. I didn’t know what I didn’t know. Thirty-three years have trucked by since then. I still don’t know what I don’t know, but I know a little more than what I could grasp in 1977.
And yet, at the same time, there are some things I tend to forget at times and need to re-learn. Like how to relax and live in the moment. How to gregariously laugh without re-framing the humorous occasion into the context of things I wish I could change. How to stop beating myself up for things poorly done, and for worthwhile things not yet accomplished.
Perhaps Socrates, that self-awareness advocate, had the healthiest approach toward the concept of knowledge . The greatest wisdom, Socrates opined, was in accepting how little you actually knew. Such insights do not necessarily walk hand in hand with age. They are more likely to hitch a ride with increased consciousness, which certainly is not a given at any point in one’s earthly trek.
So, my birthday wish to myself, then: not simply to get better with age like fine wine (make that Merlot, if you will), but to grow more conscious. And, as a result, better serve others on their own journeys from the cradle to the grave.