Posts Tagged ‘Birthday’

Turning 36

October 12, 2010 1 comment

At 1:00 PM today, October 12, I turned 36 years old; I know it will take a bit for that to sink it, just as it did when I turned 35 (and 34, 33, 32, etc).

This past year has been, and I don’t think I exaggerate, probably the hardest one in my life. Whereas the year prior to last was taxing because I spent most of it traveling a lot and taking care of Mom, plus eventually burying her and saying goodbye, last year was hard because I had to live with that reality, and the effects it brought on me and those around.

I looked at my journal entry from a year ago and I spent the entire day enclosed in my house, speaking over the phone with just a few people. I did not have, nor did I want, a birthday party, not even a small one; we just went out to eat sushi and then went home. It was almost a non-event. As time went on, I sunk into a deep depression that affected me, my marriage, and pretty much anything related to me in any way. I did start my Nursing studies in January, but even for that first semester it was a struggle to remain afloat.

Eventually I started seeing a therapist (thank you FIU for providing this service to the student population – seriously, thank you) and she helped me to deal with a few key issues I had been repressing hardcore for a long time. My mom’s death was a big part of my mental trauma, but there were more basic problems that went deeper. She forced me to challenge myself to climb out of the hole I had dug and lain in to let life pass me by. It took more than a few proverbial tumbles, falls and brawls with people close and important to me for me to realize some errors I had been making and how these were affecting others, but in the end that served to improve me, to make me stronger.

Am I well now? Hardly. My last session with my therapist was just last week; but I am better, and improving. F0r over two years I had been hovering around the 340-350 lbs mark, and this was affecting me physically and emotionally. When classes started, 7 weeks ago, I started going to the gym at school and have continued to go almost daily since then. Yesterday I weighed myself and was at 325 lbs, the first time in at least 2 years ( maybe more) that I have been under 330 and able to use the Wii Fit that was my birthday gift 2 years ago. I just punched the third makeshift hole in my belt. This is huge, cause I never though this would happen. This change in my life alone has given me a new energy, a new desire to live, a new passion for what the world has to offer.

To some 36 may seem like a lot; let’s not kid ourselves, it IS the mid-30s. But I don’t see it as a lot. At least the new-Me doesn’t. I see 36 as the start of a new chapter, especially coupled with the changes I have gone through thanks to therapy. I don’t see myself as 36, but instead as twice-18. When I was 18, I was naive, shy to a fault and afraid to see and experience what the world had to offer. This time around I can be 18 but tempered by the extra 18 years of experience I have on that version of Me. I can be 18 but banish that naivete, exile that shyness, dispel that fear that left me paralyzed for over a decade of my life.

That is my gift to myself on my 36 birthday: to become a Me that is twice-18 who experiences life knowing well what he likes and doesn’t, but unafraid to live beyond that as well; who enjoys the awesome that the world has to offer without paralyzing fear; and who is true to himself first and foremost, because when one is true to oneself first and foremost, only then can one be true to others as well. This is my new manifesto. I’m not saying I’ll live up to it every single day henceforth, but it will certainly color my life from here on.

Bring it on, 36. Bring it on.

Categories: Editorials Tags:

36 For Life Birthday Blood Drive

October 4, 2010 22 comments

Throughout this year, I have had one little mission. While my mom was in the hospital last year, she had a total of 12 pints of blood transfused into her at various times during her 4 months in the hospital. I decided that I would repay those 12 pints and donate them myself. So far during 2010, I’ve donated 5 pints, the most recent one being yesterday afternoon (it would’ve been 6, but last time I went to donate, I tried to donate red blood cells but my vein got infiltrated and it had to be scrapped). That means that I’ll be done with my mission at the end of next year. But I want to do more.

On Oct 12, I will turn 36 years old. In Hebrew, the number 18 is pronounced “chai,” life, and thus I’ll be turning two-times-chai. I’m running with the theme of “life” a bit and have decided that for my birthday, instead of gifts, what I would like is to host a virtual blood drive. Given that today is my Hebrew birthday (26 Tishrei), it seems like the perfect day to launch it.

Read more…

Categories: Editorials Tags: , ,

Turning 35

October 12, 2009 6 comments

Today I turn 35 years old. It’s a bit of a scary number, I have to admit. If 70 years is the general life expectancy (and the psalm kinda reinforces that), it means I’m squarely at my mid-life point. I’m not going to go out and buy a convertible or leave my wife for a 20-year old bimbo (though I did get a new bike, see below), but it does make me think about what’s gone on and what’s to come.

The most important event of my past year simply was the illness, convalescence and death of my mother; it simply dominated 2009 for me, having me spend a combined 4 months in Puerto Rico spread out from February to August. This has also affected me deeply, making this day a bittersweet affair. I spent all of last week in a really bad funk (though I tried not to, unsuccessfully) because of the simple realization that today would come and go and I would not get a call from Mom. I’m better now than I was last month, but I still feel it from time to time, and last week it was overwhelming. But I know she would not like it all to see me in this despair, so I move along.

This year, however, I opted not to have a birthday party of any kind. It helps that 99% of my friends are all people I interact with online and do not live in Miami, so it makes putting a party together a bit harder. Besides, it just did not feel right.

As I look forward, I see my desire and plans to enter the School of Nursing at FIU, and simply cannot wait to get that started. I hope to have all the admissions stuff ironed out by the end of this week, next one tops, so I can get on with the rest of the paperwork needed. I want to start in the Spring, period.

This move into Nursing actually matches a general shift in my mood and personality of late: I want to do things that are greater than myself. Even when writing about bikes in Slow Bike Miami, I am hoping to turn that into a way to help out the general bicycling community, to help the City of Miami/Miami Beach, to reach out beyond my own experience into connecting with others. I am tired of worrying only about myself and my immediate surroundings; I long to affect an area greater than me. I’m still figuring out how to do that, but that’s where my inner compass is taking me. I know Mom would be proud.

So, we’ll see what 35 brings. I’m ready to face it and make the most of it.

On a lighter note, I can talk about two birthday gifts I have gotten so far, both of which are amazing.

The first one is a book given to me by my wife. I actually got this about a month ago as an early present, and it still astounds me.

Gray’s Anatomy: The Anatomical Basis of Clinical Practice, Expert Consult – Online and Print

This is a massive book. Huge. Gargantuan,even! Here it is compared to the 575-pages Pathfinder RPG and the 630-page Starblazer Adventures RPG, the other two massive books I own.



All that medical awesomeness AND it comes with an online version as well. It’s an awesome gift, and I thank my wife so much for it. With this, my Nursing Library has now officially been started.

The second one is the new Electra Amsterdam bike I bought for myself. You can read all about that gift over at Slow Bike Miami.

My Star Wars Birthday Party

October 12, 2008 1 comment

My wife had been preparing a surprise birthday party for me for a couple of weeks, and though I knew the party was coming, I was left in the dark about the theme. I had my suspicions, but I decided not to give it any thought, so I would be surprised when the time came. Indeed, Saturday night rolled around and when I got home from synagogue, I had been right in my suspicion: it was a Star Wars themed party.

Star Wars Chocolate-Guinness Cake

I had to help put up stuff, like the Darth Vader piƱata, and get the music playing. My wife made a playlist of a bunch of Star Wars music, including pieces from the soundtrack to all six movies (including the Yub Nub song!), and homages, like Metallica’s Imperial March and Rage Against the Machine’s Imperial March, and spoofs, such as Weird Al Yankovic’s Yoda and The Saga Begins, plus some cool stuff like a French techno mashup of Thriller called When I Was a Child I Was a Jedi/The Jedi Dance. We also had the original, low-budget, no-CGI trilogy playing on the laptops, and LEGO Star Wars and Star Wars: The Force Unleashed playing on the Wii. Oh yeah, my wife also made a drink she dubbed the Dagobah Punch that, well, lived up to its name.

I had a lot of fun, as is evident by the photos. The only bummer is that my buddy Josh couldn’t come because his little girl was sick (though she’s fine now), which made me realize quite accutely that I need more guy friends. It also would have been awesome if my friends from the Star Wars Primetime Adventures game at Gen Con had been there, but given they live all across the US, it would have been a bit difficult. That’s what happens when most of your friends are online.

The birthday loot was awesome as well: My wife got me the Wii Fit, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (at which my wife naturally excels and can kick anyone’s butt in a Jedi duel), a deluxe toy Darth Vader lightsaber, Star Wars Risk and a new back rack for my bike. From my generous guests I got a nice bottle of Italian wine, a Star Wars book of (really friggin hard) trivia, as well as some cash (which went towards buying materials for my sukkah, but see my next post for that story).

Kudos go to my wife for an awesome birthday party, way above and beyond anything I imagined or deserved. It was a great way to welcome my 34th birthday.

You can check out the photos in the slideshow below, over on Flickr: Danny’s Star Wars Birthday Party set or on Facebook: My Star Wars Birthday Party set.