Today is my birthday. It is a day of celebration, because it's a day that I am alive. But it extends far beyond that. I feel like, for maybe the first time in my life, I'm living life the way it was meant to be lived. I've always been passionate about the outdoors, but now those passions have expanded to things that I believe have even more power. I love my family. My wife, she is my rock, she is the light that makes the day revolve. My parents and I are closer than we have been since I was probably 13 or 14, and my relationship with my sister is stronger than it has been since I was five or six. I have a wonderful dog who accompanies me on all my outdoor adventures. Elaine and I live in a 125 square foot caboose, and we never fight. We joke about the time, if we ever get a real house, how we won't use it because we won't want to be apart from each other. We're den people in a sense. Beyond this, I have my health, I have skiing, I have backpacking, I have mountain biking, I have the great outdoors. I have a good head on my shoulders. And now, after walking through the fire, I have experience and toughness to see through most anything. That can't be underestimated. I have this belief that life does not really start until you go through something like that. Finally, there is honesty now, and that is liberating. I have too much student loan debt, but otherwise things are good. That will work itself out somehow.
I got a chill tonight when I thought back to September 19, 2009. The thought of the cold steel in my fingers, the dark feel of the woods, the utter dispair and loneliness. I get scared when I think how close I was to ending it. Thank God I answered when my parents called. Thank God. I get a chill when I think that everything that has happened since could have not.
I have realized that my old friends may never come back. And I think I've been fighting to get them back, and missing a whole family of new friends – the Neptune crew – who are there and present and don't judge anything. It's time to let that old go for good, and embrace the new.
A ski today. A ski tomorrow. Getting Elaine's new bike set-up. A summer of exploring the woods with her. A trip to the desert. A life together with the love of my life.
It's a good birthday.