When I was a kid, my year would begin and end around the school calendar – essentially September to June. Summertime was a delightful escape from the rituals of academia with lots of time to sleep late and do other things – or simply just do nothing.
I’ve been out of school a long time, but my annual calendar still seems to revolve around the “academic” year, with summers still spent relaxing and playing. As I enter into yet another year on this planet as my birthday approaches next week, I realize just how important it is to take time to simply relax and play. As a creative being, it is not only important to “play“– it is critical.
As I look back on the many years that have ticked by, I am profoundly grateful for the many blessings and people in my life who have made it a life well lived. My memory fails me at times but what I do consistently recall are all the little moments of laughter and levity. I have not amassed a fortune, but I have been very comfortable and never left wanting. But I realize that I have had a rich life indeed and the best times have always included experiences near and far with people who have entered into my life – sometimes for a moment – sometimes for the long haul.
I suppose you could say that my spirit has never aged and it is still as playful as it has always been. When I’m at my most creative, my spirit is shining through. It’s not hampered by self-doubts, fear or uncertainty. My spirit is forever curious and is always exploring. Rather than being fearful of what’s around the next corner, I am excited at the prospects of opening myself up to new ideas, places and people. It’s all those experiences and relationships that make up a life worth living.
So, as I face the start of another year, I look back at the smiles and laughs as well as the tears that I have encountered on my journey and I wouldn’t trade them for anything.
I’ve always loved Election Day. It makes me feel like I have the power to make a difference because I know that just one vote can. I’ll always vote in any given election – not just the Presidential election every four years – but even (especially) in my local election where often one vote has made the difference. I’m grateful that I live in a country where I have the right to vote and I hope I never take that “right” for granted.
When I was 18 years old I couldn’t vote. The year was 1969; I had just graduated from high school and went off to college. It was a time of unrest and protest on college campuses because the Vietnam War was escalating and every day young men my age were dying. Young men that couldn’t even cast a vote for their Commander in Chief because the voting age was 21 and they were too young. Too young to vote but not too young to give their life for their country. The voting age changed on July 1, 1971 with the Twenty Sixth Amendment to the US Constitution changing the voting age from 21 to 18 in response to the student activism against the war.
It’s hard to believe that change happened in my lifetime and even harder to believe that when my grandmother was in her twenties she couldn’t vote because she was a woman. I will never take my vote for granted because I feel somehow it dishonors all the people who fought hard for that right. I also feel that apathy can lead to disaster. Just look at history if you don’t believe me.
We all get caught up in living our lives and sometimes we don’t see the silent shifts of power. But if we’re not careful and aren’t diligent in protecting our rights – they will quietly go away without us ever noticing. And it makes no difference what your political persuasions are. You have no right to whine about what you don’t like if you don’t vote.
I don’t want to be the one explaining to my grandchildren when they ask me why my generation let “whatever” happen – happen. I don’t want to be the one who says that I was too busy posting on my Facebook and didn’t take the time to go to the polls and vote.
Go vote today – it’s the greatest feeling in the world.