I turn 53 today, and what have I learned having reached this lofty age? For starters, I recognize that 53 is just a number. People over 30 say that. People over 40 understand it. We people over 50 know that age isn’t defined by a number, it’s reflected in our attitude. I know people who were old at 20, burdened by the weight of responsibility before they even knew what real responsibility was. At 53, I’ve never felt younger. My blood pressure is 120 over 70. My resting heart rate, 51. My outlook on life, full of hope and optimism — sure it’s guarded optimism, but that just comes with the wisdom of age. I’ve been through the fire, but it’s only galvanized my resolve to enjoy simple things. To exist, live and revel in the moment. Right here. Right now.

For years I worked in a career that had me focused on things in the future; I was never really present, because I was always in mental planning mode for things yet to happen. I drifted through life never really stopping to appreciate the moment, to breathe it in, to fully experience what was happening around me. Those days are thankfully, gone!

At 53, I am more self-aware than ever before (thank you Hoffman Institute). I know I am not defined by “what I do.” Who I am and what I am is wholly determined by me. Not by an employer. Not by a job. Not by the opinions of others. Not by those who would seek to judge me. Not by those who have preconceived opinions based on hearsay, or mistakes I may have made. I am that I am.

On this journey, I define who I am by making my own choices, and by not being tied to rigid expectations or outcome. And today, at 53, I have made the choice to simply be….happy. Joyful. Thankful. Appreciative for all the blessings I have in my life. Richness is not a measure of wealth in my world – instead, it’s the wealth of friends, family, love and laughter I have in my life that makes me rich. And with three healthy, happy, intelligent, beautiful, thoughtful, loving daughters and a collection of very unique friends, how could I not be happy!

So that’s me at 53 – still looking at the world with a childlike wonder, awed by beautiful things, truly moved by things that tap into my emotions, thankful for music, food, sunshine, freedom, love — in other words, life’s simplest pleasures. It’s going to be a happy birthday!

 

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