Today is my brother’s birthday. My own birthday was earlier this week. Growing up, my brother and I had a joint birthday party that served as a psuedo family reunion. of course, we grew to the point that we wanted parties with our friends instead. But given their close proximity, the entire week seemed to be Birthday week for both of us.

Even now, it seems to be a birthday week celebration. Like all birthdays, I got a lot of well wishes from friends near and far. I got some gifts. I got to go out to eat and I got a cake. Okay my mother was responsible for the cake. She thinks we should have cake. That’s a big deal for her. It makes her ridiculously happy.

Of course, getting older means thinking about your life and pondering what it means. It also means pondering how you’ve changed over the years and how you want to change in the next years.

I’ve learned the value of friendship, new and old. I’ve learned that sometimes friends grow apart to become strangers and others can pick up right where they left off years earlier.

I’ve learned that I have amazing gifts. I am smart. I am able to work toward long range goals like preparing for a trial or running a half marathon. I am able to talk to a wide variety of people from all walks of life. As a result, I have a wide variety of friends and associates that I have amassed over the years. I can still play piano better than the average bear and I still appreciate a fine book. Hell, I even appreciate a flaming piece of crap book. I have a big heart. I have a memory that, although not photographic, still manages to astound friends and neighbors.

I also have big glaring flaws. I am a perfectionist who finds flaws in everything I do. Sometimes, this perfectionism will lead to procrastination because there’s no way my work will ever be anything but completely full of suck. I have worked hard to let the perfectionism go and just try my best. Due to my “amazing” memory, I take longer to let something go than most people. It’s hard to forgive when you remember something with the donkey kick in the stomach clarity of the first moments of betrayal. I have had to work on letting things go. I eat my feelings. I have a Ph.D in eating my feelings and I have the huge ass to show for it.

I have improved. I used to take all criticism to heart without looking at the motivation of the person doing the criticizing. Now I am better at that. Sometimes people say things out of jealousy and spitefulness. Sometimes criticism isn’t constructive but destructive. It’s always a good idea.

I’ve learned that even with those flaws and even if every flaw professed by my enemies were true, that I am still good enough. I just might even be awesome.

This year I was reminded that we all die and that there is no guarantee for a tomorrow. With that lesson, I am trying to live each day as it is my last and tell people how I feel.

So it’s been a good year. It’s spring now with the birds starting to chirp. I watch my cat in the window watching the birds outside. I watch the birds oblivious to the presence that really wants to eat them. I think about the future. I think about the past. Then I get up and go do something.