I am so damned lucky. Last June, on my 50th birthday, I woke up in a luxury hotel, ordered room service for the first time in my life, took a hot bath in a giant tub, and sat on the balcony with my best friend. That is how lucky I am. That night we walked to a five-star restaurant two blocks from our house and had dinner where we were evidently so “cute and romantic,” that the couple next to us, “picked us up.” We stated talking, laughing, and before I knew it, she asked for my phone number. Since then, we have developed a wonderful, couple friendship. Over the last year a friendship has blossomed that I feel certain will deepen and grow over the years because we have so much in common and have so much fun together. All that was in the first twenty-four hours of turning 50 years old. I am so damned lucky.
While the 5-0 birthday itself did not freak me out, something inside of me did certainly shift. I became convinced that I had to “broaden my circle of influence.” That is not an easy task, it is not something I take lightly, and it certainly does not pay well. Within a few weeks of my birthday, I felt my desire for a major change overtake me, overrule reason, and lead me to resigning my job. It is not the first time I have left a job, but it is certainly the first time I have done it without a plan. I was stepping off into nothing. It was frightening and exhilarating at the same time.
I jumped in with gusto to volunteering, reading, learning, networking, organizing, and fretting. There is a lot to be worried about. I have built up a bit of a following on social media, or atlas people tell me they read what I post – and I am sure some people have dropped me and blocked me because of my out-spoken, and sometimes radical views. But here is the thing – I am not stupid – I am a lot of things, but thoughtless and stupid are not among them. I am well-read, analytical and smart. But what people might not realize is that I am also deeply spiritual. While many, many of my friends are out-spoken atheist, pagans, and adamant non-beievers, I am not. I have a deep faith, one that steadies me in times of distress, one that comforts me in times of mourning, and one that speaks to my heart like a good religion should. While I am neither Christian, nor Jew, nor Muslim, nor Hindi, nor Buddhist, I am a person of faith. I know that this is confusing for people who do readily identify as one of the major religious beliefs. I have found that Christians are the ones who are the most confused and even offended by my beliefs. It’s okay – my beliefs are not in conflict with yours, I will not declare jihad on you, nor do i believe that my religion is superior to yours. I just need you to know that just because I don’t proselytize doesn’t mean I don’t have a deep and abiding faith – because I do,
I am a Unitarian Universalist. I believe in the inherent worth and dignity of all human beings. I believe in compassion and fairness. I believe in acceptance. I believe that each person is responsible for their own search for truth. I will work for democracy, peace and social justice. I believe in the interconnected web of life. Simply put, I believe we as individuals, and collectively as a society can always improve, grow and become better if we follow the path of love. The best thing about my 51st year has been coming back to this idealism, to this community, and to this faith. It is because of my faith, that I work so hard for everyone’s freedom. Thanks for paying attention.