Daily Meditation #310–12/29/2022
It’s your birthday!
You are out with loved ones for dinner, laughing, carousing, just enjoying life.
The world is absolutely glowing.
All at once, a giant sombrero is on your head and the Mexican waiters are singing a very, very loud rendition of the infamous “Happy Birthday” song, however in their accents and instead of “Happy Biiiiirthdaaaay, dear your name,” it’s “Happy Biiiiirthdaaaay, Panchita.”
To finish it, one waiter smears whipped cream on your chin before placing the dessert down in front of you…
Your friends laugh…
The neighboring tables laugh…
The waitstaff (of course) laugh…
How do you feel?
— — —
This exact thing just happened to me not three hours ago with my parents.
Years ago as a young man, I would’ve felt mortified. Indignant. Appalled!
Because I was a proud fool.
I may very well still be proud (and a fool!), but as soon as the hat sunk on my head, I just had to laugh.
Life really is so short.
What would I have done? Grumbled? Protested? Demanded everyone to not laugh?
And what good would it’ve done?
One day, I will die.
In a car wreck.
Stricken with cancer.
At 91 on a deathbed surrounded with loved ones.
Tomorrow morning of an aneurysm.
But, whenever it is, do you think you or I would lay in that deathbed, holding hands with our spouse and children, sprawling grandkids all around and exclaim, “Dammit! I really wish those waiters wouldn’t’ve humiliated me on my 35th birthday! Everyone laughed at me and I ate a free fried ice cream! They stuck a sombrero on me! A SOMBRERO!”
Of course not!
We will, if anything, look back at these sprinkles and spices over the days of our lives with a smile. They may have embarrassed us a smidge “in the now” but ultimately brought us — and those around us — much joy.
Tone down your pride.
Be good humored.
Enjoy the fried ice cream, the absurdly large sombrero, the whipped cream moustache, and the “Panchita” rendition of the song.
Life is short.
So short, in fact, it could end tomorrow.
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These are distillations from my coming book “YouDaimonia: the Ancient Philosophy of Human Flourishing.”