Yes world, I am 45 today. (Actually tomorrow, the 11th but I won't have internet tomorrow TIA).
When did that happen? Isn't forty-five old? It sure was when I was 21! When I was 21 my mom was 45. My mom was old when I was 21....sorry mom, you know I love you! Now I am 45 and my mom is 69 and she doesn't seem so old anymore.
I wish I had a baby picture to share. Actually, I wish I could post a picture of my birth announcement. My dad worked as a forklift mechanic and my birth announcement had my name in boxes being lifted by a forklift K I M B E R L Y vertically stacked. It still is the coolest birth announcement I've ever seen. I guess my parents were young and cool at some point.
I came into the world big. Seriously, I was 9 pounds 10 ounces and 22" long (I think...my mom will correct me if I missed an inch or ounce). I was two weeks late obviously I was NOT ready to face the world. I came into the world with an amazing head of jet black hair, no bald baby for me. I have commented in an earlier blog that I am not a true blonde. I know, shocker! I walked early, talked early and have been running non stop and living up to the first born overachiever leader child ever since.
My favorite phrase as a child was, "Mom, I'm bored". I just couldn't seem to max out the stimulus needed to keep my brain engaged.
Martin Luther King, Jr. was quoted on June 11, 1963, "If a man hasn’t discovered something he will die for, he isn’t fit to live.” Did King have a premonition?
I have always felt that I needed to do something good in the world. Mantra: God did not put me on this earth to suck air and die!
So, here I am once again in Rwanda. Essentially unemployed, not sure of the direction of my life, officially mid life (I figure I'll live to 90...good genes) and homeless. But I discovered what I am willing to die for...or at least get malaria or some other African disease for...cycling in Africa. Changing lives in Africa, right now specifically Rwanda through the bike.
The past couple of days in Rwanda we had a training camp for twenty riders. Adrien was up from South Africa. I had been in South Africa the week before for a fundraising ride with Adrien. To see that young man speak to a group of about 25 strangers telling his story, confident and strong left me speechless.
When I got back to Rwanda I met up with Gasore and Nicodem fresh off the plane from Switzerland and seven weeks of training at the UCI Center in Agile. They were fit and full of stories...and Gasore...speaking English!! Even though I have become I big gigantic cry baby of emotion since moving to Africa hearing him speaking English brought me full circle to two years ago when I first met Gasore days before his first race. Gasore "gets it". He tries so hard to overcome all the hurdles in his path....illiteracy, not speaking English or French, an orphan. He came back from Switzerland a cyclist, a real racing cyclist. In the beginning of the week I commented how much I liked his UCI baseball cap. I am a fan of the bad hair day baseball cap attire. The other day when he left he came to me and handed me his hat. There goes the waterworks again. It was his way of saying thank you. The gesture itself was everything. I gave him back the cap and told him he earned it and I was very honored he would give it to me but it was his, to wear proudly.
So, I guess at 45 this is what it is about for me. I still do not know what I want to be when I grow up but I do know what moves me, what gets me out of bed in the morning cracking 60 eggs to feed 20 hungry riders at 7:00am.
Birthdays are one of the most important days of the year for me. Christ's birthday and then my own birthday, not in a "selfish look at me it's my day" type of way. It is a celebration of life. On this day I came into the world and hopefully the world has been a tiny bit better because I have been in it. At least that's what I strive for the other 364 days a year. It is a celebration of life, yours, mine, all of ours. I remember the phrase, "God don't make no junk." How very true. To celebrate your birthday is to celebrate all the good, hope and promise of your life and to reflect on how you can do it better in the coming year, to take good care of the life God entrusted to you, to feed yourself well, to exercise, to love boldly, and to live large.
Oh, and 45...it's not old at all if you do it right!