July is a big month for me. Many of you know that July 4th is a national holiday to celebrate the independence of our great nation. Most of you don’t know that about 44 years ago, the purpose of the fireworks switched from celebrating the nation’s birthday to celebrating my life.
Yep, July is all about me. They thought about changing the name of the month from July to Wowtember but you wouldn’t believe how powerful Hallmark is out of their calendar division. They are so clever, they know what days of the week fall on which dates years in advance so they mass produce calendars ten years at a time to save on photography and copywriting fees. Yep, little known fact. So they balked at Wowtember because they’d have to trash eleventy billion calendars.
July 4th kicks off Wowtember every year. July 5th became relevant in 1997 when I got married. July 5th became a lot less relevant in 2010 when my divorce became final, but hey, plenty of good things came out of that union; primarily a couple of blonde haired blue eyed two legged monsters called my sons. Now on July 5th I kind of lay low and walk around with a shrug and ‘who knew’ look on my face.
July 7th is the anniversary of my company. I put up my own shingle fifteen years ago. I didn’t do a lot of planning, nor was it a lifelong dream to start my own business. But things happened, I did it, and I’ve never looked back. Smartest and best professional decision of my life. There have been ups and downs, particularly in the last few years with the tanking economy – difficult times to be in advertising. But we persevered while many of our competitors did not. I hate to see anyone go down, but I admit it gave me more pride that we had a solid business. We are still recovering, but the future is bright; like the fireworks that are all about me.
July 9th is my birthday. I turn 44 this time. Yikes, right? I don’t feel 44. I feel more like 34 and often act 24. Or maybe even 14 when you consider pinning my children down and farting on their respective heads. This fourth decade of my life has been the most challenging. I already mentioned the tough times with running a business. I also figured out some big things about myself that resulted in a major life change –getting divorced. And then effects of that change have been tremendous and I still live them every single day. But I am happy. I feel like every decade is better than the last.
So although my birthday isn’t a big deal anymore (I’ve had so many of them), it still represents a time for self reflection, gratitude for the life I am privileged to live, awe and wonder at the two little boys I am raising with my most excellent ex-wife that is a fabulous mother.
That is plenty, right? Well, nearly six years ago, a new important date was added to Wowtember. The 20th is Drew’s birthday. The little squirt has been talking about it for months. The big brother is kind enough to remind everyone regularly that he is still 2-1/2 years older than Drew and therefore way smarter. You have to love older siblings.
More good news just came in, making Wowtember 2011 even more fun. I just got eliminated from the Blogger Idol contest. My post about being the opposite sex for a day was eleventh best out of eleven. It’s all good though because I saw it coming the way it is set up. I think sweet Heather who has worked her ass off to put together a comprehensive site (with a sister contestant site) and spent countless hours on the project is unwittingly running a popularity contest. Candice you warned me! Sour grapes? Mmm, no not really. The good news is that I don’t have to pimp myself anymore (which I hated doing), and if I ever try anything like this again, I have learned to make sure it is about the writing. With that said, I mean no disrespect to any participants, judges or voters. The contest is what it is and I lost fair and square. I’m cool with that. Good luck to the survivors.
As great as Wowtember is, there are still challenges and obstacles to overcome. Some linger and some are blips on the radar screen. I still have plenty of shit to deal with, but who doesn’t?
So I watch those fireworks every year and I silently thank my lucky stars for my life. I am thankful for my family, friends and co-workers. I am thankful for frosted cookies, the Cubs, beaches, books, music, traveling, basketball, mountains, chai and penguins. I am thankful for so much more, but Thanksgiving is in November, not Wowtember, so I’ll stop at all this.
Happy Wowtember everyone. Be sure to appreciate everyone and everything around you, including yourself.