It was the best of times. But I can't say it was the worst of times. In fact, I had a blast. This weekend I celebrated two birthdays, and both ironically marked a milestone of 45 years.
I'm not yet 45. And this weekend's festivities got me thinking… Where will I be when I'm 45?
On Saturday, I attended my friend's birthday extravaganza. (I'll call her Lucie). Lucie lives her life to the fullest. And this event was no different. It was a quinceanera-themed fiesta. Quinceanera…. TRES that is! Get it? 15 times three equals 45.
Lucie hired a Grammy-award winning mariachi band. She encouraged her guests to wear quinceanera attire. Mouths were agape as the Quinceanera court was introduced—an explosion of ruffles, chiffon, sequins, tight bodices, and big hair. Hues of red, pink, bright blue, and yellow. Of course, Lucie had the grandest entrance of them all. There she was in a deep violet. The largest dress of the bunch by far. It was actually quite beautiful. It was a big blow out!
Which brings me to Sunday's celebration. Juan wasn't able to blow out his birthday candles. His mother disconnected his tracheotomy tube and used the ventilator air to lightly puff the flames out.
Juan was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS eight years ago. His brother CHP Officer Rick Quintero is one of our dear friends, and if you watch the FOX 11 morning news, he gives us our daily traffic reports. We got a chance to preview a film, which documents Juan and his family's struggle with ALS. (You can still donate to the film at www.asacredjourneyfilm.com )
One of Juan's wishes was to leave behind a mural for a Lincoln Heights school— his alma mater and the same school his children now attend. The mural depicts the history of Lincoln Heights, one of the first neighborhoods in Los Angeles. Stories told in magnificent color-- red, pink, bright blue, yellow, and deep violet. Juan can now only speak through a voice synthesizer. It took him 3 hours to compose a 3-minute speech to a captivated audience. His message: live your life to the fullest.
Where will I be when I'm 45? I don't know but I sure intend to enjoy the journey.