By Jim Selman | Bio
My birthday is tomorrow. I don’t normally give much significance to these annual milestones. I don’t actually remember most of my birthdays, other than a few of the hallmarks—21st, 50th and maybe my 65th. I certainly appreciate the cards and wishes and the fact that someone cares enough to acknowledge the day. My birthday has probably been of more interest to astrologers than it has for me. This year, I am spending it alone in Madrid on a rainy day. Perhaps for this reason, I am more reflective than I might otherwise be.
Sixty-seven years ago I didn’t exist, and sometime in the foreseeable future I won’t exist again. I have already been around longer than most of my ancestors, made more money than my father, had three great children, pursued three totally different careers, traveled the world, loved and been loved a lot, experienced heartbreak and pain, and (arguably) have learned more in my lifetime than was learnable a hundred years ago. I am happy, healthy and, with the grace of God and my strong genes, will probably be around for another 20 to 30 years—maybe longer.
Perhaps the most important thing I have learned in this life of mine is that I am blessed. I can take very little credit for any of the good things that have come my way. I owe it all to other people whose generosity and love has opened up possibilities and whose guidance and feedback has allowed me to grow, succeed and prosper over the years. I am profoundly grateful. If this sounds like an acceptance speech at the Academy Awards, it is because on this birthday I do feel like I have won the Oscar—or the lottery of life.
A second reflection today is that while birthdays mark the passage of time, they are also opportunities to be complete with and to let go of the past and create new possibilities for the future. I have been teaching and coaching for a long time and I always show those with whom I work that one of the most important functions of a coach is to help others to stay present, live in the moment and live into a possibility. When we fail to do this, we become trapped in our past, in old patterns and stories about the way it was, is or should be. In AA, this is usually accomplished through the 4th Step in which we dig up all our past fears, resentments and ‘wrong-doings’ and then in the 5th step share them with God and another human being and let go of the hold they have on our lives and our behavior. Today, for me, it is simply a process of identifying any areas of my life where I am incomplete and then asking myself if I need to do anything ,such as apologize or make some recompense or ask forgiveness, and then to just declare myself complete.
At the end of the day, my prayer or intention is to be open to continuously learn and discover whatever it is that I may be blind to on a given day, to have my actions and conversations empower others, to accept life as it is and never forget how profoundly grateful I am for being alive in these extraordinary times and to share this life with so many extraordinary people.