A Birthday Message From Within

A Birthday Message From Within
By William Cooney


Two days ago I turned 60. In some ways I have never felt so young, in others—never so old. But thanks to my Atheist and Humanist friends, I now know enough to live a small part of each day as if it could be my last, and another small part as if I may have a million more to go.

“Make now the most precious moment of your life,” Captain Picard implores of his ‘daughter’ in the Star Trek TNG episode The Inner Light, one of my favorites. (The others being Where None Have Gone Before and All Good Things.) Why is it that we have so much trouble with the here and now? We readily look back to learn from the past, and we always have a sense of hope for the future. Why do we resist basking in the present? Whatever the reason, I am determined to find it, seize that moment, and make the most of it.

In all honesty, the arc of life points much more steadily toward the light these days. Rather than staring into the abyss, I find myself gazing into a pasture of green delights. Yes, the demons persist, but I am much more confident of my ability to smite them—with the help, that is, of caring and compassionate friends and family.

What does turning 60 really mean? Literally, it means I have existed long enough for our planet to make 60 revolutions around the sun. In one sense, this is little more than a blip on the cosmic radar; in another it is even less important considering the earth has been in existence for over four and a half billion years. The paradox of our purpose lies in the fact that our uniqueness is to be found amidst our insignificance.

So Happy Birthday, Billy. May you have 60 more! And, may you keep and find as many wonderful friends in the future as you have in the past five years. Here’s to a long and fulfilling life.