July 28, 2007
Born in the Summer of Love

Today, forty years ago, in 1967, the Summer of Love, I was born.

Yes, today is my 40th birthday.

Our culture puts a lot of emphasize on this birthday, but it feels pretty normal to me. Today is very much like yesterday. I had no burst of wisdom or perspective.

Over the last forty years I have seen and done many things, but today I will share what I think is important. They are not new or original ideas, but I have found them to be true and helpful in having a happy life.

No matter how much you learn, there is always more you don't know and people smarter than you.

Sometimes I say, "The more I know, the more I realize how much there is I don't know." You can never stop being willing to learn and listen to others. Everyone has something to teach you, even if it's how not to behave. Learning something new everyday is as important as eating well and exercising. The tough part about his reality, is that people like to consider themselves an expert on a topic and feel that they need to dismiss new ideas to maintain their status as an 'expert'. Understanding that you don't need to be perfect and can ask others for help is amazingly liberating.

The only person's opinion of you that truly matters is your own.

Many people spend their lives trying to live up to an ideal or image that others have created and set expectations about. You need to live your life the way that you want to live it. That doesn't mean you can ignore others, but you should dress the way you want to dress, eat what you want to eat, listen to the music you like, and not worry about what other people think about your personal choices. Not easy to do, and not a reason to be non-conforming on purpose, the idea is to not do things because others expect you to.

Compassion and humility are the hardest virtues to practice, but they are the most important.

While everyone is a unique individual, we are surrounded by billions of other unique individuals. Coming to the perspective that the world does not revolve around yourself is hard. After this realization, you can see that helping to alleviating the pain and suffering of those we encounter, is likely our most important job in life. Having compassion for others does not require gigantic effort and sacrifice. Sometimes it is simply joking with someone that could use a smile or leaving a large tip. Having compassion for others isn't always about the big, dramatic effort, it's about living your life daily considering those around you. The point is to think about the needs of others more than you think about your own desires.

Humility is perhaps the toughest thing for many people to develop. Instinctively, we want others to pay attention to us and what we do. There is nothing wrong with feeling happy when you receive a compliment or a link to your weblog. ;) Humility is focusing on the others around us and their needs rather than our own. Easy to say, tough to do.

Thank you for reading my weblog, I hope it makes you happy. Have a wonderful day, I know I will.

Posted by michael at July 28, 2007 02:00 PM


Wonderful words from a simply wonderful man.
Happy Birthday!

Posted by: Mom [http://momonthealert.com] on July 28, 2007 3:01 PM

Happy Birthday Michael.

Nice post, great observations. Sounds like you've got some perspective along the way.

Posted by: Jason [http://www.rollercoastergalaxy.com] on July 28, 2007 4:08 PM

wow!!! i remember that day!!! has it really been 40 years??!!
well, congratulations! in case you have forgetten any one of about a hundred times i have told you over the years...i am so proud you are my "little cousin" i praise God for you and for the girls! zoe and mira are such neat kids! but you know that!
of course, kudos to michele...
what the heck..praises to piper, tooWELL, LOTS OF LOVE AND BEST WISHES ANOTHER GREAT 40, COZ!

Posted by: mary [] on July 28, 2007 4:59 PM

Happy birthday!

Posted by: alan [http://www.geekandproud.net/] on July 28, 2007 9:28 PM

Happy Birthday! Here, have the day off :D

Posted by: lomara [http://blog.lomara.org] on July 29, 2007 4:16 PM

Congrats young man!

I look forward to what wisdom you'll impart when you reach 50...

best to all


Posted by: michael briney [http://briney.net] on July 30, 2007 12:15 AM

Happy belated b-day, Mike! I love your blog and love you, too. You're a wonderful father, loving husband and all-around great guy. We're blessed to have you and yours in our lives.

Posted by: phil [] on July 30, 2007 9:15 AM

Mike, Happy fortieth! In the summer of 1967 I was at the Monterey Pop Festival. I don't remember anything after that. Again, best wishes.

Posted by: MorganLighter [http://freetraffictip.com] on August 1, 2007 5:56 PM

Happy Birthday! Welcome to the 40 club. I turned 40 last November. Nothing changed really since 30. More aches and pains and more hair in unwanted places. :)

Posted by: Bribo [http://flickr.com/photos/bribo/] on August 2, 2007 5:17 AM
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