Life is short! Do the good crafts!

It is my birthday.

Not today, though – not the day when I post this. Not even near it. I am writing this post on my birthday with the intention to let it ripen for a while in the “done” file.  To me, my birthdays are a personal thing, and I don’t want a bunch of hollow birthday wishes. I get more than enough of that from the couponers.

I know it seems odd to some that someone who recommends celebrating people on special days should be so exclusive about their own “special day.” That’s just how I’m wired. I try, whenever I celebrate someone’s day, to make it a personal connection. Too often I get cards in the mail that seem to have a sub-text of

“someone said I should send out birthday cards, and I know your birthday, so here’s the card I’m sending to everyone.”

I’m still waiting to feel the warm fuzzies from those cards.

I sometimes get the very rare card from someone who says something meaningful about me and our relationship. I keep those cards.

What I find particularly puzzling is the number of people who have ready access to my DOB because of the business I have done with them. They don’t even do the generic “here’s a card” mailing.

I am actually more impressed with the Golden Chick Franchise a few blocks from my house that went to the trouble to find out what month I was born in and  – every year, without fail – sends me a card for a free meal. No catches. No “you gotta buy this to get that” deal. No fine print. Just come in and have a meal on us. They started doing that before I even went in their door. The card is how they got me in, and I found I like the people…and the chicken…so I’m about as regular a customer as a vegan-leaning Reducetarian can be.

The REAL REASON I am writing this today.

The Beloved Muse brought two Instagram posts to my attention. One was from Beth Djalali on the occasion of her spouse and BFF of 35 years passing from cancer. He did it in style on an outing with his family, with his panama hat on his head and his walking stick in his hand, living life until the very end. I am starting this year already a year older than he was.

The other post is from Kay Gardiner in which she states, “Life is short! Do the good crafts!” By that she means the ones that engage you, give you joy, and aren’t drudgery. It’s a thought that lingers constantly at the top of my mind, like the Fate Atropos holding the “abhorred shears” with which she “slits the thin-spun life.”*

I think it is the Buddha who refers to one of our greatest tragedies in life as forgetting that we are going to die. In other words, thinking there is plenty of time to get around to the things that really matter; imagining that any moment is more important than the one in which we are breathing, living, and loving right now.

That is why I hold my date of birth as something sacred, a time to review and renew, to reconsider and evaluate how I am really doing. That is how I celebrate MY new year.

And this year I think I’ll just focus on the good crafts.

*Milton, Lycidas

Michael Stammer is a Sales | Life | Performance coach available for individual and group coaching and speaking to organizations. For more visit

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