Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Happy Birthday Dad

I received the following letter from my daughter Rebecca on my 50th birthday March 27, 2008. It was the best gift she could have sent.

My Dear Father,

I am writing to you to wish you a very happy birthday. On one hand, it
is like so many others that you have celebrated since your birth, but
on the other it has a certain greater significance that is forever
monumented on greeting cards, tee-shirts, bumper stickers. Over the
hill? Or not quite, maybe that is closer to 65. Whatever the case, you
have now reached the age that people seem to view as the halfway
point, a very important landmark on our timelines.

This causes me to pose the question of when this phenomonea came to be; when we began to view this particular number as so imposing and meaningful. It is especially puzzling to view it as the halfway mark between our birth
and death when considering that our average age tends to fall around
the 80-85 mark. Your genes might be the exception that you might have
only lived half of your life by now. Regardless, whether we celebrate
our halfway mark at 30 or 70, you have now another lifetime ahead of
you. Or perhaps just the same amount of lifetime that has laid ahead
of you during the rest of your life that you have previously lived.

Perhaps it is now the time when people begin to assess what is truly
important and what they would like to accomplish before their final
chapter, but I believe that every moment should be considered with
this assessment and we shouldn't have to wait until we are 50 to begin
tackling our goals. Maybe we just have to wait until we are 50 to have
the time for them.

The ratio of our ages, as father and daughter, are approaching every
year; at one point in time I was only one thirtith of your age, now I
am nearly half. We are exponentially approaching zero and will someday
reach that axis, but for now I sincerely wish you a happy birthday and
hope you give yourself a moment to reflect on your most joyful moments
of the past half-century, of the past half-lifetime, and that you
continue to live this joy for the remainder.

With exponential love,


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