Today marked yet another milestone for me on my journey through life. I turned a year older. It was a fabulous day and I was surrounded by family and friends who love me and are always there for me. I couldn't be happier or luckier.
Now firmly installed in my middle age, I must say that this time in my life is giving me the best years of my life. Being well into the second half of my forties, I feel empowered and in control of my destiny in a way I've not experienced in the past. I'm not being naïve either. One thing life has taught me is that there is no such thing as security; that is merely an illusion. We must strive each day to do the best we can and to make every opportunity that comes along a positive experience. This is about choice.
I am happy because I choose to be happy. Like everyone else I know, I've had more than my share of sadness and bad times in the past. Most likely, I'll have the same amount in the future as well. The difference is whereas I once resented and suffered through the negative episodes I have learned to be objective about them. I don't see these things as being against me anymore. I have learned to be proactive about my life and to plan and organize myself for whatever comes along by planning and organizing the present - today - so that I feel more ownership of myself. We are all basically at the whim of fate but we can minimize the impact of life's developments if we accept our own accountability in the events we involve ourselves in.
No matter what has happened to me in the past, I know that my own actions and choices allowed me to be in whatever position I happened to be in at the time. And I accept this fact. I learn from my past rather than ruminate over it or become mired in depression over the bad things that happened. And even when we find ourselves in the worst circumstances, there is always something to be gained from having gone through them. There are only a few events in my life that I now truly regret. Why? Because I've seized the lessons that these episodes taught me and I choose to expound on these rather than pass up the opportunity to turn them into useful experiences.
Karma is something in which I firmly believe. I am convinced that whatever we put out into the universe will come back to us. My combined practices of Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism and Transcendental Meditation have given me the insight to accept my own responsibility for my life and to carve the life I want for myself out of the remnants of my own past. I can't move forward if I can't let the past be the past. Yesterday doesn't matter anymore. Other than the life lessons you take away from your yesterdays, nothing in the past can effect you today unless you allow it to do so. The key to achieving this clarity lies in your ability to put your focus on today and tomorrow rather than in events that have come and gone.
And this is why I feel so empowered by these years of my life. I am free to be myself and to make my plans for the future and to accomplish anything I choose to attempt because I know that I have overcome my past and in having realized this I can achieve my future. If I set realistic goals for myself and if I am willing to work toward them then the only stumbling block I will face is myself. If I believe in myself I can move mountains.
So today I turned a year older. I had a wonderful birthday with my family and my friends around me. I received so much love and so much support that this day was a complete success for me. I believed it could be so and it was. As I move into this new year, and the next one after this, I will continue to put my faith into my own abilities. I will keep living each day as it dawns and I will not let the past define my future. I will continue to accept myself as I am, with all the flaws life has given me and with all the experience I've acquired through them, and I will become a better, happier person because of everything that has led me to today.
And I wish each and every one of you the blessing of learning to do the same thing for yourself. You can be happy and content or you can be miserable and resentful. It's your choice.