Happy Birthday To Me

by Matt | 1 Year Sabbatical on April 8, 2011

Happy Birthday To Me

I’m throwing in an extra post this week because today is my birthday and it’s my blog so I can.  Forty-two years ago my Mom endured 12+ hours of labor to bring me into this world and she’s done a good job of making sure I never forget that.

When I was younger (I’m still young) I couldn’t wait for birthdays because that meant presents and presents meant new toys to play with.  Plus there was always the cake and ice cream although I’m more of an ice cream person than cake person.  After high school the next milestone was my 21st birthday where I finally caught up with my ID and could legally drink and make a total fool of myself. 

But as the years have piled onto each other and blurred together, birthdays seem to have become just another day on the calendar.  This year I turn 42 and with the life expectancy in the US at 75 my life is statistically about half over.  There is a sobering reality in that thought that makes me stop cold and think about what I’ve accomplished in the last 42 years and what I hope to accomplish during the remaining years of my life.

The last several years have been somewhat of a wake-up call.  I’ve been forced to take a long hard look at my life and think about what it is I am doing and whether it is what I want to be doing.  Am I doing what I really want to be doing?  Am I living my passion?  Have I made a difference?  Can I do more?  And the conclusion that I have come to is that while I’ve lived a great life up to this point in time there is much more that I want to accomplish and many more things I want to see and do.

Dream as if you’ll live forever, live as if you’ll die today – James Dean

Now when you come to the realization of just how short life really is your first instinct might be to get a little frantic maybe freak out and think that time is running out.  I know that is how I have felt at times.  But the truth is none of us know the day and hour of our passing.  I could live to be 100 or I could get hit by a bus tomorrow.  The reality is that every day is a precious gift and we shouldn’t waste a single moment of it.

In many ways I feel as if I am just starting to come alive.  I’ve encountered the world with new eyes and it is warm and inviting.  How can I refuse her invitation?

Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive. – Howard Thurman

And now for some very encouraging news on the sabbatical front.  Foreign spouses of Indonesian citizens have now been granted more residency rights.  What this means is that because I am married to an Indonesian citizen it is now easier for me to get permanent residence and be able to work if I choose without sponsorship.  From the sounds of things I won’t need to hassle with the yearly KITAS which we were dreading.  This is huge and I’m going to take it as a great birthday gift. 

And finally I’m almost embarrassed to say this but Sabbatical 101 the email series I have been putting together that I hope will help others plan and implement their own sabbatical journey is delayed.  I have no excuses other than I’ve been really busy.  (I was going to insert a Charlie Sheen phrase on drinking tiger blood and winning at life but I hear he is copywriting them and I don’t need a lawsuit).

I figure no one will get down on me on my birthday so I feel pretty safe with this shocking announcement.  The truth is I only want to put out a quality series and it’s just not there yet.  It’s Spring now and the flowers are starting to bloom and my inner photographer is taking over which means I try and spend as much time taking photos (weather permitting) as possible.  You can check them out on my other blog Matt Koenig Photography.  In fact if the weather holds out I’ll be heading up to the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival today, camera in hand.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Gillian @OneGiantStep April 8, 2011 at 4:56 pm

Happy Birthday Matt!!! I have never worried about getting older; always figured that I’m only ever one age once so I better enjoy what it is rather than wishing for ‘back in the day’. I do, however, find birthdays even easier now that I feel completely in control of my life…no ‘one day’ wishing because I’m already doing! Cheers!!
Gillian @OneGiantStep recently posted..The Great Eastward Migration


Matt | 1 Year Sabbatical April 11, 2011 at 10:22 am

Thanks Gillian! I’m not so sure I feel ‘completely in control’ of my life and maybe that is part of the problem. I’m getting there though. Cheers!


Amy April 8, 2011 at 7:08 pm

Happy Birthday Matt! I was chatting with someone the other day and I asked him to define what he thought was mid-life. He said the middle third of your life and I was dumbfounded! By his definition I am now in mid-life but I still view myself as a kid sometimes! (I’m 31, gasp!) I wouldn’t trade it though, life just keeps on getting better and better and I keep on getting wiser and wiser!

That is great news about the Indonesian Visa situation. Should make things a whole lot easier for you guys!
Amy recently posted..Unschooling – What We’ve Learned So Far


Matt | 1 Year Sabbatical April 11, 2011 at 10:25 am

Thanks Amy! I still view myself as a kid too especially when it comes to being mischievous. 🙂 The Visa situation in Indonesia couldn’t have come at a better time. This is such great news. Let’s hope it translates through the government quickly.


Ali April 9, 2011 at 7:49 pm

Happy birthday Matt! Congrats on the visa situation, sounds like that’ll make things much easier!
Ali recently posted..Adventures in Flight Booking


Matt | 1 Year Sabbatical April 11, 2011 at 10:26 am

Thanks Ali! The visa thing should definitely make things easier.


my. April 16, 2011 at 1:24 am

Hey Matt,

Happy Birthday! This post totally resonates with me as my birthday is very close to yours, and I have also been thinking a whole lot about life, purpose, meaning, passion, ….. Glad you’re now seeing and living the world with renewed energy. It’s a great feeling, isn’t it? — Michelle


Matt | 1 Year Sabbatical April 17, 2011 at 11:50 am

Hi Michelle! Thanks so much and Happy Birthday to you as well. I read a post recently on The Life Design Project that had a calculation in it. Multiply your age by 365. This gives you your current age in days. Then subtract that number from 27,375 which is the average life-span today. That gives you and estimate of the number of days you have left. It’s rather sobering to look at life in terms of days. You realize how short and precious it really is. It makes you want to get out there now and experience as much as you can. And that is indeed a great feeling. Cheers!


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