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.