This moment in time is particularly sweet for me. Since my last birthday I welcomed a grandchild into my life and experienced a career-changing event that has changed the way I view the work-life balance. It turns out that life is much better when you have this balance. It was forced upon me through some pretty terrible circumstances, which I am slowly coming to view as positive.
Living here, at this time in history, is better than any other time and place I can think of. We live in a country where you don't get put in prison because of your political views. Sure, I would like the world to be less about politics, but at least the government won't lock me up when I don't agree with what is happening. Even though there is still way too much poverty and hunger, we have an overall abundance of everything we need in the United States. When we have the will, we can solve any problem. Even though we still need to stand up for civil rights, we live in a country where men and women of every race and ethnic background have the same basic rights. This only happened very recently so we need to be thankful for the advancement of civil rights and fiercely protective of those rights at every opportunity.
We are living at a time and place where we have access to information and ideas as never before, where we can do anything and dream anything we dare. During my lifetime astronauts went to the moon and a robot landed on Mars. I carry a more powerful computer in my pocket than the first astronauts had in their rockets. Girls now have equal access to sports and go to college even more frequently than boys. There are foods that we have learned to make and share, and music and arts that we love, that weren't here when I was growing up. Cars are safer, homes are warmer and we can hop on a plane to visit all parts of the globe. We don't have to pay for long distance phone calls to our relatives in other states and we can even chat via video. I am friends with people I have never met in person and my life is so much richer for it. Despite what you may believe thanks to our overwhelming access to mass media, we are healthier, wealthier and safer than ever before.
Yes, there are many things that should improve in the world and our country is very flawed. But overall, it is such a great time and place to be alive. I am thankful for the time I have had here so far and look forward to all that is to come. Happy birthday to me!