Sunday, November 4, 2007

"Are you One? Are you Two?..."

This past week has been jam packed and fun fulled - beginning with Joy's Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) party, a class trip to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Halloween, an Off-Broadway show and culminating with my birthday celebrations which took place in school, around town and at home.

Normally at this time of year I take stock of my accomplishments by listing in my journal all of the wonderful and new things I have accomplished in the past year like others do. Although I have always enjoyed this style of reflection, this year I am thinking along different lines. Yes, I have obviously had new experiences but for the most part I am in the middle of things. No big changes, no life altering revelations, just an ongoing enjoyment of the life I have worked so hard to create. It seems fitting to be in the middle - a little more than half way through my doctoral studies, a little less than half way through my teaching career - since at 44 I am probably at the half way point in my life (I have decided that I will hang out here in this body until I am 91). This is comforting and wonderful.

I am at peace with so many things and the notion of following your bliss keeps coming back to me.

If you follow your bliss, you will always have your bliss,
money or not.

If you follow money, you may lose it, and you will have

Joseph Campbell

I have a deep appreciation of the fact that I have found my bliss as a teacher and this colors all aspects of my life. I feel blessed by my amazing family, friends and co-workers. Thanks!

After I blew out the candles on my birthday cake at school the kids started chanting "are you one, are you two, are you three?" and I stopped them because by the time they hit 44 they would have become exhausted. They laughed - I love when they get my dry, witty, subtle, sometimes sarcastic, often borscht belt, humor. Then they surprised me with their cards.

Here are a few...

"Happy birthday Gary. I hope that you have a good birthday"

"You are so funny. I wish you and Ms. Cheritha can be my teacher! Are you going to be 2nd grade soon? I like you very much." This was written by a student in the other first grade class.

"Dear Gary, Happy birthday. I love Gary. I fun to Gary play. I love Gary. You are a fun man."

And my favorite....

"Happy Birthday Gary. He the KING of the school." This child is very wise and will receive high marks on his report card next week. (see above: Humor)

But the most precious card came from my parents.

I can hear my mother's voice in these words although they were obviously written by someone else (click on image to enlarge). It is perhaps my greatest joy in life to have this unconditional love from my parents and their undying support. With such a foundation how could I have not grown up to find my bliss? Or know happiness?

It has been a spectacular life thus far.

I look forward to the second half!


lettuce said...

Happy happy birthday Gary.

that is such a lovely card from your mum and dad, wonderful words. And I love that little extra note - thankyou for being my friend. Thats truly precious.

and I fun to gary play too.


Joy Keaton said...

Okay King of the School - you may owe me a new keyboard since I just did a spit take of coffee on this one when I saw the "featured artwork" and your comment. Truly, how is it you are wearing your hat below your head??? Hilarious!

I'm glad you had so many good wishes on your birthday. :)

WAT said...

Dear Gary,

The truly great thing about the kids' cards is how honest and truthful they are. Not jaded or embittered at all like some adults, children come out with the utter sincere truth.

I suppose it's an obvious concept, but this is what most struck me seeing the kiddies' drawings and frank messages.

Congratulations, and happy b-day!

Reya Mellicker said...

Yes you are KING, not only of the school! Love the cards. The one from your parents brought a tear to my eye.

You're a force of goodness on this planet. I'm so very very glad you're here, and that you'll be sticking around another 47 years. Bravo!

Arielle said...

Happy birthday! I'm so glad you are happy and content with your life. It really shows in your writing. I love the "Follow your bliss" quote. It is such a wonderful saying and should be noted. I love your birthday cards/drawings. Thanks for sharing those! Very glad I found your blog; it always makes me smile. Happy birthday again! Here's to a great year!


Btw, thanks for the link to my blog. :)

Dumdad said...

A slightly belated Happy Birthday, Gary! (This email's taken all this time to travel over the Atlantic from Paris - you know how the mail is nowadays!)

Keep following your bliss - it's working.

I love the birthday cards. Great fun.

david santos said...

Gary, Please!

Send an email to the Brazil embassy your country and report the injustice that the brazilian courts are making with this girl
Release on Flavia�s accident and status of the process.

The resignation is to stop the evolution

Florecita said...

Happy Birthday King of the School!!!!!!! Knowing that you will always be blessed because you are an angel on earth!!!!!!

Salty Miss Jill said...

HAPPY HAPPY!!!! What a fabulous birthday week you had!

I can't believe you're 44, look much younger.

These cards are wonderful. Thanks for posting them!

marxsny said...

Gosh, you know, you don't look a day over 43. I'm thinking perhaps the artist responsible for this weeks featured artwork may have some sort of unique, previously undiscovered artistic dyslexia where things are drawn in the wrong order, explaining why your hat is between your head and torso. With some creative research this may be an opportunity for you to get published.

Mikey T said...

what a wonderful way to spend a birthday!! so much love and such great keepsakes. I hope it was all around wonderful!
I am gonna have to draw you a card myself (with proper spelling and grammar and everything!!!)

SaraSkates said...

Happy (late) Birthday Gary!

kimy said...

happy (belated)birthday - what a terrific week you have had! the cards are wonderful, thanks for sharing them with your friends here in your cyberhood - had I known it was your birthday, I would have baked you a cake, of course I would have to have eaten it for you too since it would have been too messy to mail!

you may be the king at school, but I believe you will always be a prince among men! (princes are always way cuter!)

d. chedwick bryant said...

Happy Birthday Sweetie Pie!
King of the School, Lord of the Commute, Prince of the Blue Bayou, and Jack of Hearts.

Gary said...

Thanks one and all for your sweet birthday wishes. It is actually great to see all of you here commenting, kinda like we are having a huge party in the back room. Drinks are on me so mingle...

Ladron de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Forty-four is but a child depending on one's perspective. And though I agree that I fun to Gary play; I love Gary; You are a fun man -- I am upset that you have yet to post an actual photo of you in that yellow suit! Must I hop on a plane to New York and see you in it?

Gary said...

Gregg - Yes, that is probably the best way. It (the yellow suit) works much better in person.

Ladron de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Since I don't know when work will take me there, I am seriously planning on a Manhattan trip in April or May. I've not been since June of this year and am way overdue.

ciara said...

happy birthday! when was your birthday? mine was sun (nov. 4) and i do believe i'm catching up to you...i turned 41! lol the kids made cute and funny cards....i know i always love the cards and gifts my kids make me.

Gary said...

Ciara - We share a birthday. Happy birthday to you too!

MONA said...

GARY! Your birthday is gone? Awww. I wish I knew! I would have done a post for you.


Anyway.. Belated happy birthday to you!


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