Friday, September 22, 2006

Birthday Wishes

Today is my birthday. It's a BIG ONE. It ends in "0," which always invites a retrospective, and begs questions like What have I accomplished in my time on the planet? and Why don't I have more to show for my life so far?

I've always been a driven person. My plans for my life have been far-reaching and ambitious. I've discovered, however, that those plans have been found on no one's agenda but my own.

For instance, a decade ago, the last birthday that ended with "0" was very difficult for me. I wanted to have at least one book in print or one screenplay optioned by then. But God's time is not our own. And though you can work to advance your career, you cannot simply make things happen.

It took a few more years before I had a book out, but it wasn't the book that I thought would be the first published. By then, my daughter had come along to brighten my life. And my husband had lost his job. So much for my meticulously crafted Life Plan.

Today, in keeping with a grand tradition that includes carb-laden cakes, cards, and candles, I've made a few Birthday Wishes:

* I wish everyone would choose to do one self-sacrificing Selfless Act a day. It would be a regular reminder that there are those less fortunate than we are, and we are all in this world together.

* I wish everyone would "unplug" for 24 hours on a regular basis. With no TV, no radio, no CDs, and no DVDs monopolizing our brain cells, we'd be forced to confront our own thoughts, find our own entertainment, and reach our own decisions without relying on corporate-sponsored media that is focused more on their bottom line than on their consumers' well-being.

* I wish every corporation, every business, and every company were held accountable for the damage they inflict on the planet, and were made to take steps to clean up their collective mess. I wish it were impossible to conduct business without making a non-destructive footprint and leaving the world at least as good as you found it.

* I wish every overweight person would become financially responsible for and sponsor a person who is dying of malnutrition -- until both people were healthy.

* I wish every parent would recognize the enormous potential within his or her child, and would accept the responsibility for helping that child thrive. This includes surrounding the child with unconditional love, giving opportunities for success and for failure, insisting upon personal responsibility, and protecting the child from the world at large (because it is a very large world).

And finally,

* I wish every person would take steps toward reaching a personal goal. What is life without a dream?