Today is my birthday. Thank you to all my facebook friends for sending me messages. It’s such a simple little thing most of us do when we first get online each day – check the birthday list and send a little message. It takes 2 seconds. But, then you get 100 messages, and it feels a whole lot more meaningful than those simple 2 seconds.

Every year, for me – and probably for many – a birthday serves as an important milestone. It’s an opportunity to question my value in the world, to guilt myself like Schindler looking at his list – I could’ve done more! Meanwhile, on the bottom half of my glass, the full half, I have much to appreciate – a solid loving marriage, an extended family that I can tolerate, a history of unique jobs (from dressing as a nun to interviewing Will Ferrell), the glorious Outcast Jazz Band, a library of life stories which I re-tell over and over, and a library of life stories which I re-tell over and over.

Every year, the number of the age grows and becomes more daunting, but why? It’s simply a number. I still prefer to laugh so loud that people think I need medical attention. I still enjoy pulling pranks on the teacher (even though my teacher wife doesn’t always see the humor). I still love singing and drumming the steering wheel in my car. The number only holds power if you give it power. How I feel is my choice.

So today I choose to do something embarrassing at work. I won’t know what it is until it’s in the past – like all my favorite memories. But, it will serve as a reminder that we all have a choice to ignore the authoritative voice that was imprinted into our brains as children – whether it was intended to keep us safe under the care of our parents, or if it was intended to train us as good obedient workers who never question their bosses – we all have a choice to live life as our true self, as opposed to the self that we let others dictate to us.

Are you ready? Now is the time. Rise up. Summon your inner child. Live every day like it’s your birthday. Eat cake. And get into some trouble. Dismissed!