...and I don't need anything. No presents. No cake. I have everything I could possibly want. This makes me both nervous (as though the universe has some unhappy tricks in store, so I'd better enjoy this while it lasts), and incredulous, because it feels a little like winning the lottery after so many years of beginning private entries with the words, "I wish..."
The thing that makes me happiest is the knowledge of how much more there is to look forward to. Skills to polish. People to know. Places to visit. Things to create. And they are, I am grateful to say, within reach in one way or another. But, for so many, happiness, health, and prosperity - the stuff I am trying really hard not to take for granted on a daily basis - are not in the cards.
So this year, I have a request for anyone who would like an excuse to do something awesome. It's my birthday, and my wish is to help more people achieve the kind of good that I and so many others enjoy, and give a little more back to the planet we take so much from. If you have the time, dollars, or interest, here are some things on my wish list.
1) Sign my petition urging the US Government to get the plastics problem under control. Not only is this stuff poisoning our environment, but our country also makes plastics something for other, poorer countries to deal with by sending them our waste, which they have no means to effectively handle without putting their communities at great risk. They deserve better and so do we.
2) Visit "Click to Donate" at Care2.com. It is 100% free. Using pay-per-click sponsorship, your click can save acres of rainforest, rescue wildlife, purify water, and raise dollars for cancer research, among other causes. And did I mention it is FREE?
3) Donate to 350.org. They have taken on the massive task of convincing governments and corporations that our air, our atmosphere, and our climate are worth fighting for.
4) Give to Team J.E.D.I, a leukemia and lymphoma fundraising initiative spearheaded by my friend, Jason, who just won his battle against a rare form of leukemia.
And then, if you feel so inclined, there's a special project I am involved in that, if you can help, comes with rewards. My friend, Steve, has asked me to illustrate a scifi picture book, and being a father of two without the ability to pay for my services out of pocket, he has put his faith in Kickstarter to raise the funds to illustrate and self-publish it. There are a number of incentive levels, but if anyone on here donates you'll get a little extra something from me to thank you for supporting a project that will have my name on the cover as illustrator. Just let me know in the comments if you donated:
Starflyer John Jackson Kickstarter Campaign
And I am now 25 minutes away from being a year older. Thanks so much for reading. Thanks so much for always being here for me. My birthday wishes include the wellbeing and happiness of all you amazing people, who are in great part responsible for so much of what brings me joy in my life. Keep being awesome.