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Saturday, August 10, 2013

Milestones

While at work today, I asked a question to my associates: 'My wife's 50th birthday is coming up. What should I get her?'
One of the snarkier comments came from none other than my boss. 'Trade her in for a newer model.'

WTF is up with that? 
Of all the things that come to mind, that would truly be my last thought. This is a perfect example of the type of people I work with. Back when I had my first review, one of my supervisors wrote, 'Bill is a credit to his people.' Yeah, that's a direct quote.The way I saw it, there were two choices: Raise the biggest stink I could (and shorten the length of my employment.) or shut up and go along to get along. There wasn't any upside to this. I knew I'd have to turn a deaf ear (ha ha) to the snide remarks. Not only would I have to work harder to prove I was just as good, I'd have to grow a thick skin as well.
Turning fifty is a milestone, an accomplishment to be celebrated. My wife and I have been married 22 years. We've raised three beautiful daughters who are smarter in some areas than I'll ever be.
Yes, the half century mark is a time of reflection. It isn't a time to go over your regrets, but your accomplishments. There are people I knew 25 years ago at Disney World. Through the magic of Facebook, I can see that some of them are still there. That is, and at the same time, isn't a good thing. Some of them may be happy in what they're doing. A couple of them may not want to be anything more than what they already are. There is a word for this: Stagnate. To remain in place, not grow.
Even though I didn't have a clear picture of what I wanted my life to be back then, I knew one fact: There was more to life than slinging burgers and driving a monorail. The ones who I remained in contact with are the ones who grew over the years.
One of my closest friends started working at his father's law office. He went on to become a police officer for the Albuquerque Police force. Today he is an FBI agent out in California. We still keep in touch through Christmas cards and the like. I'm proud to be his friend. He taught me so much by his actions and words and for that I will be forever grateful to him.
How's that saying go? Life is what happens when we're making other plans?
We can turn our noses at the people who work the minimum wage jobs. Hell, I'm one of them. But what separates the adults from the kids is the ability to step outside our comfort zone. We don't have to accept living paycheck to paycheck. What I mean is, yes; that's what a lot of us are doing, but while we're doing that, can we be doing something else? Something more than hand-to-mouth?
A perfect example is my wife taking online college courses at night while doing her day job. Hell, I write on my lunch break. It may be one paragraph, but that's one paragraph more than a lot of people.
She will be 50 in a few days. She is also a few hours away from completing her masters degree. There are times... highlights really, where I am so extra-proud of her. I'm proud of her all the time, but there are times that are uniquely special, like when she gave birth to our daughters. When she went back to school. When she stepped outside of her comfort zone desiring to be more than what she already was. My wife is not the same person she was 22 years ago. She has grown... evolved... and yes, matured, and I love her for that.
She is more.
More personality.
More radiance.
More being.
When I look at her, I don't see what others see. She may notice wrinkles and grey hair, I see beauty and grace.
Beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder.

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