July 8 ought to be a National Holiday.

July 8 ought to be a National Holiday.
Because it is my birthday.
Ok, maybe it shouldn’t be a National Holiday, but July 8 still a great day.
I must admit that as a child I didn’t like a summer birthday because it meant I wouldn’t get the same recognition as my classmates and schoolmates who had birthdays during the school year.
Fortunately, I had a teacher who decided to give me and some of my classmates who had summer birthdays a card at the end of the school year so that we could feel just as important as our peers who celebrated their birthday during the school year.
From spending birthdays with family in Texas, California or even with my parents in McNeil, I had some wonderful birthday celebrations as a child.
There was a time when birthdays would excite me. As I’ve gotten older, I now view birthdays as a time to reflect on where I am, what I have accomplished and where I am going.
As I began to think about birthdays in the past, I couldn’t help but to think of those that were really monumental moments in my life.
My 10th birthday; the year I finally reached the double digits.
My 13th birthday; the year I finally reached, as some parents would call it, “the dreaded teens.”
My 16th birthday was a time when my parents started easing up to let me enjoy some freedom and independence.
I had received my driver’s license the previous December, but I still could not go any where without a licensed driver over the age of 18.
Once I turned 16, my parents started letting me use the car to go more places on my own.
I could now drive myself to and from school, to basketball practices and games, and make more trips to McDonald’s and Walmart as a 16-year-old.
It was also during my 16th year of life when I sensed a call from God to preach His word.
I will never forget the feeling I had when I woke up on the morning of my 18th birthday.
On that morning, I woke up to the reality that I was finally a young adult and I would soon be a college student.
My parents once again eased up and allowed me to enjoy more freedom and independence.
During my 18th year of life, I met new friends and was exposed to new things. It was in this year when I was really challenged and figured out that it was really time for me to grow up.
How could I forget my 21st birthday?
While some people are waiting to bring in their 21st birthday by entering the casino at midnight, I was clocking out at midnight after working a 10-hour evening shift at Alcoa in Magnolia.
Again, 21 was a year that forced me to come out of my shell and do some more growing up. It was at this age, where I feel like I fully stepped into manhood.
I must say that I grew a lot in my 20s. I experienced many challenges, successes, setbacks and triumphs during my 20s. It was during this decade where I really got to know the Lord and made a commitment to live for Him.
I got married one month before my 29th birthday. I proudly tell people that I became a husband and a father on the same day.
Reaching my 30s was a very humbling time for me as I was reminded of the fact that the 40s are just a decade away.
I must admit, 33 was a good year for me.
I was promoted to the position of managing editor for the Siftings and Gurdon Times in December.
I was voted best journalist/reporter in Clark County by the citizens of Clark County.
I was chosen as one of Clark County’s top 20 under 40.
Not to mention, my daughter graduated from high school in May.
Overall, the Lord was mighty good to me and my family this year.
While I am thankful for what has taken place, I’m looking forward to what 34 has in store.
As I think about turning 34, I’m reminded of the fact that life is so short, even though I am still considered a young man. There are people who came before me who did not make it to 34 and there are people who came after me who I have outlived.
While some people dread the thought of turning a year older, birthdays are a time when we can be thankful for another year. It’s a time when we can evaluate our accomplishments and work towards accomplishing our goals for the future.
Happy Birthday to me and to all of those out there who share a July 8 birthday with me!

By the way, I’m accepting gifts all month!