This morning, like every August 28 morning for the last 45 years, my mother tells me the story of my birth.
It was a hot San Anselmo day, and my mom’s water broke as she was hanging laundry in the backyard. Our neighbors waved from the curb as my dad sped her to Kaiser Hospital in San Francisco.
My parents didn’t know my gender. Just before my arrival, the doctor asked my mom her names for a boy and girl.
“If it is a boy, Michael. If it is a girl, Pamela,” she said.
“Here’s Pamela!” the doctor proclaimed, before placing me in her arms.
I have been blessed to be loved and cherished my entire life by both my mom and dad, and in later years by the addition of a bonus mom and a bonus dad (we don’t believe in step-anything in my family).
With this unconditional love, I have still faltered at times.
I was confused in my teens, and I found my way.
I was afraid in my twenties, and I found my power.
I was tested in my thirties, and I found my work.
I have been growing in my forties, and I have found my purpose.
Life up to now has been rich, dramatic, painful, joyful and adventurous.
It feels like I have been testing myself, excited by the journey, but not totally comfortable claiming my own authority.
It has been the “If Then” half of my life.
Now that I sit at what most likely is the halfway point between birth and eternity, I am ready for a new age.
The Age of “Now Then.”
In this age, I will:
- Say no. Success and happiness require choice.
- Value myself. My time, energy, skills, experience and special gifts are worth honoring. I will stop wavering on price and commit to value.
- Focus. Doing multiple things at the same time decreases my impact and energy.
- Feel. Fear. Love. Grief. Joy. A life well-lived is a life well-felt.
- Erase debt. All outstanding obligations will be resolved.
- Build wealth. The pleasure of building a business is building a business! I will analyze, measure, adapt and grow so that I create a strong foundation for myself, my family, my partners and my clients.
- Mentor. Youth inspire me, excite me and move me. I will do all I can to be a willing ear, a source of strength and a helping hand to the next generation.
- Speak my truth. I will worry less about being “nice” and more about saying what needs to be said.
- Serve deeply and love unconditionally. With focus and purpose, I will build my body of work with vengeance. I will share it openly and willingly with the fierce hearts ready to receive it.
- Move. I will attack my MMA punching bags with enthusiasm. I will breathe deeply into yoga stretches. I will walk up and down hills and through nature. I will honor my body.
- Laugh. I will look for raucous, colorful, bold and hilarious companions. We will laugh until we cry.
- Lead. I will evaluate. I will ask. I will reflect. And I will walk boldly in the direction of my choice.
There is no greater gift, and no amount of wealth, that compares to the love I feel from the circle of people I have around me.
Thank you Mom and Dad, for giving me life.
Thank you to my family for giving me purpose.
And thank all of you for making it a joy to live.
Now then, let’s get on with it!