I don’t suppose I ever thought, let alone believed, in “fortunate accidents.” But, looking back, who was I kidding?
The man that rear-ended me and totaled my vehicle in March of 2010? He allowed my insurance company to provide me with a hefty check and brand new car. The jobs I took (and learned a lot from) that appeared like major, professional detours? Turns out, the knowledge from each allowed me the freedom and confidence to finally launch my own website, my own business. And while it’s still a daily work in progress, it’s mine.
Fortunate accidents. The majority of my twenties were spent pursuing fortunate accidents. And in one week, I’ll be thirty. Does that mean the fortunate accidents will be any less? I hope not. Fortunate accidents confirm what Steve Jobs wisely states in his Stanford commencement speech, “you don’t connect the dots looking forward, you connect the dots looking back.”
I have always lived my life with an appreciation for looking back in the rear view mirror. I’ve pursued a Bachelors of Music Degree, incurred $50,000 worth of student loans from a school I loved (all about “The U”), sang my heart out and evaluated the music industry. All that so I could follow the path of entrepreneurship while giving my father heart burn about my ability to pay my $400 worth of student loans back each month. None of these things make sense as I pursue them in the moment but I follow my heart and for that, I am fortunate. (Besides, I really did want to be a pop singer. Hail to Brittney!)
The majority of us don’t live our lives with a blue print anyhow, we live our lives in faith. And my faith is not just some “wish upon a star faith” but the kind of faith that requires you to believe in a purpose beyond yourself. I see faith playing an even larger role in my life in this new decade. I’m flirting with a different perspective on getting older (hey, at least I’m flirting with something).
I should probably remind you that I will “ring in” my thirtieth birthday on 09/11/2011. This year happens to mark the 10th anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks. And while the world at large has been affected by 09/11, I had a childhood friend of mine lose her uncle in the World Trade Center while another close friend (who served in the Marine Corps) lost her brother and fiancé in Iraq.
Do these reasons discourage me from celebrating my birthday, each and every year? Absolutely not. I see 09/11 as a reason to honor my ability to make an impact on this earth. But there is, and perhaps always will be, controversy around celebrating anything on this date. I suppose I hadn’t thought I’d feel such a contradiction of emotions at 29, I certainly didn’t know what to feel on my 20th birthday as I watched the events unfold on TV. One thing is certain, I feel empowered to share love with as many people as possible. So, I am ringing in my 30th birthday by raising money and participating in a Birthday Build for Habitat for Humanity Los Angeles.
The economy continues to take its toll on everyone. People are losing their homes due to foreclosure, acts of mother-nature, or even losing love ones from the war that was triggered as a result of 09/11. There is nothing fortunate about that.
However, no matter where you are, I hope you’ll celebrate something. Remember--we are lucky…lucky to wake up, lucky to make choices, lucky to dare to have fun or dare to do good. I’m flirting with 30 and it feels a lot more youthful than I had thought. Maybe, just maybe, I’m one step closer to finally making a commitment. So put that extra candle on the cake, I’m ready for more fortunate accidents….as a matter of fact, I’m sure the best has yet to come.
I hope you’ll help me give happiness and love this 09/11. Feel free to donate to my Birthday Build for Habitat for Humanity here. A special heartfelt thanks goes out to those who have already donated.