Happy Birthday to Me. Now It’s Time to Go.

7 Jun

Photo by Warren Wong / Unsplash

I’ve had the song “The Only Way to Get There” on repeat pretty much from the first moment I heard Jake Etheridge sing it on the TV show Nashville earlier this year. It’s a song about coming back after a difficult time, and it’s centered around this hook: “The only way to get there is to go.”

I fully acknowledge that I have a pretty good life (“A Life That’s Good,” to reference another Nashville song), and generally, I’m a pretty lucky guy, so unlike Jake’s character, there’ve been no significant hardships for me to overcome. And indeed, there have been many highlights to look back on over the past year, not to mention plenty to look forward to in the near future.

But that lyric, simple though it is, keeps playing over and over in my head.

Right now, I’m having a particularly hard time getting myself going. Despite a visible positive attitude, behind the scenes I feel like I’m just going through the motions, passing the time. I try to be happy every day, but I’m actually quite disengaged, bored, disappointed, tired, and frustrated. I doubt myself and my abilities, and that makes me feel anxious. I fall back on bad habits. I know I’ve stayed at my current job too long. And my comfort with being alone is starting to become uncomfortable.

The problem is, I don’t know what I want instead of what I have, personally and professionally, so I haven’t changed things. And that’s resulted in a kind of complacent lethargy that’s unproductive.

No wonder I haven’t had any momentum on the goals and intentions — some not all that ambitious — I’d hoped to tackle by now. It’s the same old frustrations that I’ve been expressing for a while. And the same ole status quo.

(Not to mention the numbness that comes from following the goings-on in Washington, D.C., but let’s put that aside for now, okay?)

Today, as I turn 44, and I step back to take stock of where I am, I’m hopeful that this is the year I will finally light the fire that will propel me forward. After all, as the song says, the only way to get to where I want to be is to go there.

So it starts here: This year, I’m going to take the steps necessary to figure out what I want, personally and professionally. I’m going to take more responsibility for myself and my actions. I’m going to put in some work. And hopefully, when I get to my destination, I’ll be ready for what’s next.

Your birthday gift can be to hold me accountable.

No more meh. “No more wasting time,” as Jake Etheridge sings. I have to get off my ass and do something if I want anything about my life to get better.

I’m sure I’ve belabored the point, but that’s what I wanted to say today.

Happy birthday to me. Now it’s time to go.

12 Responses to “Happy Birthday to Me. Now It’s Time to Go.”

  1. Terra Walker June 7, 2018 at 8:25 am #

    First off, happy birthday, Martin! I think the first of your blogs that I read was last year’s birthday entry.

    Second, I truly feel you, and where you are. Complacent lethargy. It’s consuming, more deeply than we realize. And sometimes, priorities just change, and we just aren’t interested in the things we thought we were.

    However, deciding to take that first step is huge, but don’t forget to actually take that step. I can’t tell you how many steps I’ve decided to take, and then fear or laziness or whatever it was kept me from it. I’ve recently found out that nothing lights a fire under you than when you put yourself in a position where you HAVE to move.

    Accountability buddies for the year? Get going, kid 😉

  2. joshmccormack June 7, 2018 at 3:12 pm #

    Very honest and transparent of you, Martin. I hope you get the clarity and drive you’re looking for, and you reach out and challenge yourself. I appreciate your friendship, and hope I might be able to help you get to where you want to go somehow.

  3. Rebecca Smith June 8, 2018 at 3:40 am #

    The first step is putting it in black and white so you’re already on your way. I’m all over this. Happy Birthday!!

    • Martin Lieberman June 9, 2018 at 6:28 pm #

      Thank you!

      • Dr Andrew Albert June 23, 2018 at 8:28 am #

        Wow. I did not expect to read this on your 44th. Ok Martin. The gloves are off. I’m holding you accountable for the changes to come and the greatness you will find on your road ahead. Thank you for sharing something so personal that almost everyone can identify with.”
        Per your post:

        I’m going to take more responsibility for myself and my actions. I’m going to put in some work. And hopefully, when I get to my destination, I’ll be ready for what’s next”

        – I’m beyond excited to see where this goes and hope you won’t give up. There is so much out there.

        Your birthday gift can be to hold me accountable. – DONE and DONE my friend.

        Looking forward to your two trips to Chicago. Plenty of time to hash this out and if I can be of help (because I have endless ideas), that would be awesome. Nothing like great conversation in the cold Michigan City lake. Long long overdue.

      • Martin Lieberman June 23, 2018 at 9:37 am #

        Thank you, Andrew. Means a lot.


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