Happy 42 to me! And other social media DOHs.

Happy 42 to me!

by Stan Faryna

Stan Faryna

Rush, Time Stand Still

This 22nd is my birthday. I’ll be 42. My heart trembles – but for no good or bad reason.

Life is not treating me more kindly (or unkindly) than it does. I have much that I am thankful for. I count many friends as the gifts that they are. And, yes, I grieve for as many disappointments and losses.

I am even thankful that I can still be mistaken for a 20 something by a 20 something hottie every now and then. But that fortune is owed to my mother- some say that she was still a hottie at 50. But for the record, mom now looks like a stylish, young grandma these days.

This birthday, unlike other birthdays, comes with more unanswered questions, disappointments, and hope than others. Ok, 30 was full of disappointment, anger, self-defeat, and existential angst.

At 30, I was neither a saint nor a millionaire. I wasn’t married and I didn’t have children. But I still had time, vision, ambition, and unstoppable passion.

I’m not sure why 42 is bugging me – like a big, puppy-ish dog scratching at the door to get in out of the rain.

It could be that a Chinese fortune teller (looking as old as an ancient dragon) stopped at my table in a Los Angeles China Town restaurant. They made the best Chow Fun ever.

I was twenty. He told me that if I can make it to 43 (which he said was very unlikely), I will enjoy a life, command, and fortune like a king. I ignored the free fortune (misfortune) and haven’t thought about it until this week.

How the hell does an insignificant memory like that come up out of nowhere!

There was another unsolicited fortune (another fortune teller but also Chinese) that forewarned my mother that I would go through hell for three years (39-42) and be reborn as a Phoenix.

Fortune tellers, psychics, and reiki-people make for strange company. You never know who they are working for -especially Chinese fortune tellers. However, I can say that I recently dumped about 200 pounds of expensive, rare, and useless Feng Shui crap as an act of spiritual purification. Feng Shui is idolatry.

42 is also the meaning of life, everything, and the universe – if you fan Douglas Adams. [laughing]

But if 30 was for the examination of accomplishment and defeat (and proved me lacking), twelve years later, I don’t feel that I have overcome the sucking that is mine.

Twelve years later, I’m neither a saint nor a millionaire. I’m divorced and my ex-wife doesn’t allow me to be the daddy that I want to be for my son.

My ex-wife, however, is a millionaire thanks entirely to me. Of course, she’ll spend it within a few years and end up in a terrible way. And, yes, I’ll be glad and sad to hear about it. I’ll be sad for my son – just to be clear. Because she will sell off everything that I intended for him. I had piled up a modest inheritance for him.

Do I still want what I wanted? Do you still want what you wanted?

Do we still serve the ghosts of previously and long-ago discharged masters and demons?

If I do not want what I wanted, why should I carry the weight of disappointments for things that no longer have meaning to me?

The wants have piled up like a mountain of dirt over these years. Broken hopes and disappointments sparkle across that mountain like so many shattered beer bottle left by careless tourists and weekend environmentalists.

I’d like to come down off this broken mountain.

I’m not complaining about my lot in life. It has been very good and very bad. I am impatient, however, for enlightenment – which I use with certain dismay but also lacking a better word.

20 years ago, I finished my undergraduate thesis, Finis Humanevitae. Roughly translated from the Latin: Human Destiny or, more poetically, the good end to which our humanity seeks. The implicit conclusion of Finis Humanevita was that for us, truth, beauty, and goodness live in spontaneous, consistent, and emotion-filled moral action – not opinion, knowledge, or understanding.

Living it has been a long and unsuccessful struggle. It seems to be a never ending story.

I would like to walk beside still waters and lie down in green pastures like it is written in Psalms 23. I would not like to harden my heart, to have no peace, or to speak harsh words with an impure mouth as the complaint is leveled in the book of Hanokh. I would like to walk with God like Enoch as the story is briefly told – just like that – in Genesis 5:24.

Solomon gave a clever reply when God asked him what he wanted. Solomon asked for wisdom and he received wisdom, wealth, power, and glory. Among mortal men, there will never be a greater king than Solomon.

Thomas Aquinas, however, was so clever that no human reply will ever be more clever than his. When God asked him what he wanted, Aquinas replied, Thee. And he received God and everything that is good, true, and beautiful.

This birthday I will not wish for the same-old; the usual suspects and contradictions. They always come with mixed results. I have asked for them for the last twelve years: a Ferrari, heavenly commissions and blessings, and, above all, a pure heart.

I have wished so fiercely for these paradoxes that they have become constant companions. It will be hard to let them go.

On this birthday, I wish for God, to walk with God, and to speak with him. I can’t imagine anything more wonderful. It removes considerable responsibility for which I never had the power, wisdom, or grace to bear.

I will make this wish knowing full well, as C.S. Lewis observed, man’s search for God is equivalent of a mouse’s search for the cat.


If you are so moved, say Happy Birthday to me here on my fundraiser blog post. $5 would shake my heart like a long, square beard shaking with joy and kind laugher: http://wp.me/pbg0R-sv

Stan Faryna
19 October 2011
Bucharest, Romania

P.S. I am unlikely to be online on my birthday. Maybe, a few check-ins at best. I’ll put some time in at church. In prayer. Then, I hope to spend as many hours as I can with my boy, Johnny. That will exhaust me completely.

Faryna Podcasts

1. Why do I blog: http://wp.me/pbg0R-kX

2. If Tomorrow Was Your Last Day: http://wp.me/pbg0R-la

3. Money Can’t Buy Happiness: http://wp.me/pbg0R-lv

4. The First Duty of Love is to Listen: http://wp.me/pbg0R-lO

5. Are You Ready for Love? http://wp.me/pbg0R-lX

6. Reading The Desiderata. http://wp.me/pbg0R-mr

7. What is Love? http://wp.me/pbg0R-mw

8. Confessions of a Freak-Geek-Misfit. http://wp.me/pbg0R-nJ

9. Do you love strongly? http://wp.me/pbg0R-nY

10. Empty-handed, Less Traveled Roads. http://wp.me/pbg0R-on

11. The Economics of Friendship. http://wp.me/pbg0R-oU

12. Do Not Be Afraid. http://wp.me/pbg0R-p9


24 Responses to Happy 42 to me! And other social media DOHs.

  1. Betsy Cross says:

    Everything I do, even if no one else knows it (and they shouldn’t because it sounds self-righteous…?) I do because my relationship with God is the most important thing in my life. I know that He doesn’t care where we live, what we collect, or what we do for a living (some professions I’m sure are on the not-cool list). But He cares that we’re happy. I want to be able to look Him in the eye and say I did my best. That I lived up to the light inside of me. That I didn’t give up. And that I served the people He put in my path.

    And I think that the subconscious fear that fortune tellers plant in your heart is what’ll get you every time! LOL!
    Happy early birthday!

  2. Stan Faryna says:

    I still cannot imagine what makes a little, ancient man come over and mess with a young man peacefully trying to mass consume a large plate of greasy noodles and almost raw beef. [grin]

    Big hug to you, Betsy. You are a wonderful gift!

  3. alaskachick says:

    Happy Birthday, sweet man.

    Jeremiah 29:11
    I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

    1 Peter 3:14
    But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear what they fear ; do not be frightened.”

    1 Corinthians 10:13
    No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

    Have a wonderful day with the little man and remember, we are singing Happy Birthday for you!

  4. Meg Guegan says:

    Happy birthday St. Stan of the Littlest Animals

    • Stan Faryna says:


      You have been a gift to me for so many, many years. Your friendship means so much to me. I’m only sorry that I have not been a better friend and inspiration to you. Do you forgive me?

  5. Happy Birthday, Stan! Your birthday is smack in the middle of my 3 girls’ birthdays. October seems to be birthday month!

    Some birthdays hit me harder than others. 29 was the roughest. But you have accomplished a lot in your 42 years and have experienced a world of living in your 42 years. I’m thinking “boring” has never been used to describe your life. Well done.

    I think the best way to feel better about your chalking up another year on this planet is to set goals for yourself. How about a one year goal? Five year? What do you want to accomplish by 50? Start looking ahead to see what else you would like life to have in store for you.

    Don’t worry about the soothsayers. They’re plain wrong.

    • Stan Faryna says:

      Happy Birthday to your 3 girls, Carolyn!

      I have always considered October to be a wonderful month for birthdays. It is a month for celebrating the harvests, for filling our stomachs among family and friends, and for giving our thanks.

      [laughing] Honestly, I don’t know if I have accomplished everything that was in me to do. I had great and, perhaps, impossible expectations as a young man. But what was done or not done is now in my past. I do recognize and appreciate, however, that my experience of being human is wide, deep, and far.

      I have seen others broken to pieces by less (good or evil). But then, I also consider myself broken in some ways. But someone once said, it’s the cracks that let the light in. [smile]

      I have three things I’m working on:

      1. Rural poverty project

      I need to raise $150,000 to get this off the ground and make it sustainable.

      2. Science fiction novel

      I need to rewrite much.

      3. The greatest of all games

      I need to raise $250,000 in seed investment to move this forward.

  6. Stan, I read every word. Great thoughts.

    I want you to know that you are appreciated and on the 22nd I’ll be celebrating.

    Happy Birthday man.


  7. Crowfoot, a Blackfoot tribal chief, asked, “What is life?” His insights differed little from those we gain from Thomas Aquinas. For Crowfoot, everything that is good, true, and beautiful is found in the ordinary splendor of everyday. In answering his own question with three short observations, Crowfoot captures the essence, the heart and soul, of our coexistence. He teaches us life “is a flash of a firefly in the night. It is a breath of a buffalo in the winter time. It is as the little shadow that runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.”

    Stan, I think maybe, just maybe, you stand on a hallowed ground with Solomon, Thomas, and Crowfoot; you see and hear what so few can even dream. Enjoy the view, beautiful friend, and keep sharing the sights and sounds with the rest of us! Happy Birthday!

    • Stan Faryna says:

      I hope you know what you mean to me, Jack. You have had great impact on my life. Your gentle heart has been a guiding star for me. And we have never met face to face! But we shall soon.

  8. […] Scott Stratten 40. ServeHope via Amanda Hite 41. Never Assume Anything via Ameena Falchetto 42. Happy 42 to me! And other social media DOHs via Stan […]

  9. Happy Birthday, Stan, and thank you for being so adept at getting us to think “deep thoughts” and to “ponder the imponderables.”

  10. Happy Birthday Stan! Hope your heart will be filled with joy on your birthday.

  11. Stan Faryna says:

    Thank you Sherry. I appreciate you.

  12. John Garrett says:

    Stan, you are without question one of the most introspective and GIVING people I’ve met on the web.

    This was an amazing post. I learned so much about you. This was awesome.

    I had my fortune told once in my early 20’s. It turned out to be a load of crap, simply what I wanted to hear at the time, but I had forgotten all about it until I read this post.

    Indeed, where do those memories go, only to resurface at some seemingly random time?

    Anyway, Happy Birthday my friend, I truly hope you have a wonderful birthday, you deserve it!

  13. Stan, aloha. Hauoli La Hanau. Speaking from experience, I can tell you that each year, each decade gets better–at it they have for me.

    Though everything may not be as you envisioned it, you certainly have enjoyed some glorious moments to offset the lows.

    The gratitude and appreciation that we have for what is in our lives in large measure determines how we enjoy our now and create our future.

    Before visiting your blog, I was over on twitter and saw this wonderful quote. To me, it is a perfect birthday gift, Stan. Enjoy:

    “Unite body, mind and spirit in a three-part chorus that has your feet moving, your heart beating fast and your vision soaring.

    Wishing you a year of dreams come true and happily ever afters. Aloha. Janet

  14. Hi Stan,

    I am a bit late here but wanted to send you my own birthday greetings. Forty-two has been an “interesting” year for me but I think that most of that is because of what is coming down the road.

    Here is to an incredible future for you.

  15. […] If you’re in the mood, stop by my party and wish me a happy birthday here. […]

  16. billdorman says:

    Stan the man, ever searching; I hope this year brings peace, contentment and joy my friend. Happy belated birthday.

  17. […] If you’re in the mood, stop by my party and wish me a belated happy birthday here. […]

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