Justin Tadlock

Thirty-Six

Cake with text 'Happiness is a piece of cake' inserted.

13,149.

That’s the number of days I have been living and breathing on this world thus far. In years, that number is 36. Happy birthday to me.

I recently saw a tweet from someone announcing they had reached their 15,000th day. That particular message resonated with me.

Why do we count our lives by years?

On average, the human lifespan is typically somewhere in 70s. We get 70-something years on this planet — if we’re lucky. It is such a small number. The years seem to fly by, almost without notice. It is easy to not appreciate each day.

Instead, we should count our days. We should change our perception of how we go through life. Rather than 70+ years, we get 25,000+ days.

Imagine waking in the morning and telling yourself that you are 13,149 days old. On the one hand, 13,149 seems like a lifetime and more. On the other, you could look at each new day as a blessing. How will I spend this one day out of 25,000 or so? Will I make it a good day? Will I do something positive for the world? Will this day matter?

I am somewhere nearing the halfway point of my life. If the universe is willing, I am not even close. But, I have been thinking about life in terms of days lately.

In the Stargate SG-1 episode Brief Candle, a team of explorers who travel to other planets via a wormhole device meet a colony of humans who only live to 100. A hundred days, that is. Captain Jack O’Neill, the leader of the crew, caught an engineered aging virus the people there had been living with. Kynthia, the woman who had fallen in love with him on the planet, could not understand why he was so upset at his rapid aging. For her and the inhabitants of that world, they lived 100 days of bliss. It was paradise. They lived every day to its fullest.

After Captain O’Neill solves the problem (don’t want to kill off the hero in season 1) and his team saves the inhabitants of Argos, he and Kynthia share an exchange that I have never forgotten:

O’Neill: I’ve learned so much from you. I’ll treasure every day of my life because of you.

Kynthia: For thousands of days?

O’Neill: I sure hope so.

Kynthia: That is almost forever.

O’Neill: Almost.

The leader of our crew was saved and could continue living out his thousands of days. The people of the colony could as well. To have thousands of days to look forward to was almost unimaginable for them. Life would be even fuller, no longer constrained by their 100 days. They could go out beyond their small colony and explore the world.

Yet, we take our precious days for granted.

We never know how many days we get, but it generally numbers in the thousands. Would you live life differently if you knew you only had 100 days? I know I certainly would.

The Past Year

It has been a bit of a whirlwind since my 35th birthday. A year ago, I was plugging away at new features on one of my primary projects at Theme Hybrid. Today, I am a fulltime writer at WP Tavern. I wrapped up the 2nd edition of Professional WordPress Plugin Development last month. I also sold my biggest WordPress plugin, Members, to another company last year.

A lot has changed in my life in the span of a year. I am a much happier person. Part of that has to do with more financial stability. Another part of it is that I simply needed a change. Taking on new challenges helped pull me out of the rut I was desperately trying to climb out.

While much has changed, many things are still the same. Other than getting a Nintendo Switch and a new TV to keep myself entertained, I have mostly kept up with the same lifestyle outside of work. I am biding my time and saving money back for some other major changes I want to make happen before I write my 37th birthday post. For now, it is all about staying on the current course, working hard, and enjoying the projects I am fortunate to be a part of.

The past couple of weeks have tried to knock me down. It all started with a storm that cut off electricity in the neighborhood for three days. That same storm blew a tree limb into the roof of my chicken coop, creating an opening for a predator to enter. I lost one of my hens that night. It also took two days for me to find a generator to restore minimal power at home.

This week, as I was returning to the vet to pick up a kitten who had gotten spayed, my car battery died. My birthday present to myself this year is likely going to be a new battery. Well, and a pair of new shoes, which I had already ordered before the battery situation.

That was all tied in with several other ups and downs for the past couple of weeks. But, I won’t allow any of this bring me down. I am 13,149 today. It is a good day.


Previous years: 35