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33 Years and Much More to Go

birthday Today is my birthday.  Some are glad I was born on March 18th in the year of 1976, and I m sure some are still trying to decide how they feel about my presence.  As I think over the past 33 years of my life, I m really only thinking back 20 years, because I don t remember much of anything before the age of 12 or 13.  And then in the past 20 years I really only remember the highlights.  You know things like my wedding day, birth of my kids, Dallas Cowboy playoff victories, international mission trips, graduations, job opportunities, moving about 15 times, and various other memorable events.  It seems that the farther I get from the past, the harder it is to remember things. 

Which leads me to one of my favorite birthday quotes of all-time. 

"This day I completed my thirty first year, and conceived that I had in all human probability now existed about half the period which I am to remain in this Sublunary world. I reflected that I had as yet done but little, very little, indeed, to further the happiness of the human race, or to advance the information of the succeeding generation. I viewed with regret the many hours I have spent in indolence, and now sorely feel the want of that information which those hours would have given me had they been judiciously expended. but since they are past and cannot be recalled, I dash from me the gloomy thought, and resolved in future, to redouble my exertions and at least endeavor to promote those two primary objects of human existence, by giving them the aid of that portion of talents which nature and fortune have bestowed on me: or in future, to live for mankind, as I have heretofore lived for myself."

-Meriwether Lewis, on his 31st birthday

Meriwether Lewis wrote this in his journal while trekking across the previously undiscovered terrain of the Western United States.  The quote is significant to me because it reminds me to look towards the future, not being held back by the mistakes of my past.  I love the line, to live for mankind, as I have heretofore lived for myself.   As I trek towards my mid-thirties I will continue to do the things you do when you re my age.  I will take my Omega-3 Fish Oil to keep my cholesterol in check, I ll visit my Doctor annually to keep up with my overall health, and I ll remember not to eat Mexican food when travelling long distances in a car.

But I m encouraged by Meriwether Lewis s statement and I will really look forward to opportunities to redouble my efforts over the next 33 years.

Jonathan Cliff is married to his wife Starr and they together live out their days with two sons and a daughter. Jonathan serves as one of the Pastors at Grace Community Church in Clarksville, Tennessee; where he works with leaders throughout the city to help develop Christian community that leads to deep and meaningful spiritual friendships. His journey has been an adventurous one, having served in the local church for 15 years in family ministry developing leaders, building environments for kids and students to belong, and encouraging parents to take big spiritual steps with their families.

4 Comments

  1. KC · March 18, 2009

    A few years ago ( at the age of 37 ) I dared to look myself up on actuarial tables, and it seems that 37 was about half of my expected life. So, if you’re similar, your midlife crisis is coming up in a handful of years.

    Happy BD all the same :)

  2. Kelly · March 18, 2009

    Happy Birthday! Hope it was a good one!

  3. AnnaMeadows · March 23, 2009

    Happy late birthday… I love the quote… I think it is a great challenge and really makes one think about the stamp we are leaving on the ones around us… thanks for the post! Hope you had a great birthday!–Anna

  4. Tim Gabbard · March 24, 2009

    Happy late Birthday!