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(My eldest nephew has some how gotten to be 50 years old, which seems surprising as I am not much older than that myself. Anyway, the following email was forwarded to me by my sister, his mother.)

From: rkessler@ksfamilylaw.com
To: nogumbo@aol.com
Sent: 11/23/2012 9:42:55 P.M. Eastern Standard Time
Subj: Today I am 50

I have lived. I have married.  I have had a child.  I have experienced joy, sorrow and life.  There is much more to do and experience, but today is a time to reflect.  How appropriate that it is the day after Thanksgiving.  Maybe it’s even appropriate that it’s “Black Friday”.  But I am an optimist.  I like to see the good side of things or at least the silver lining.  And I have much to be grateful for, because I have indeed lived.  I had a good childhood with the usual childhood traumas, disappointments, highs and lows.  I loved soccer and had a good run at it.  I had great dates and I got stood up.  Who could complain about growing up in a city as great and unique as New Orleans. I spent perhaps the best year of my life overseas after high school and before college. I made lifelong friendships and learned how big the world really was.  I enjoyed college at a fine university in the northeast.  I was challenged by the higher learning there and it was invigorating.  I was also challenged by the weather as I had never lived in snow.  I then spent another year abroad for my junior year of college and in a way repeated the best year of my life, so I got to do it twice.  I am and was so lucky.

I moved back below the Mason-Dixon Line for law school (that was my number one priority, given how cold Boston was).  And I have made a home in Atlanta, where the arch rival to my beloved New Orleans Saints (that would be the Atlanta Falcons) are the current favorite local franchise with the best record in the NFL (but watch out for the Saints next week!).

I have established a business, friends, a home and a life here.  And I am happy.

I hope to live another 50, but the first 50 have been wonderful.  It may sound cliché, but I feel blessed and thankful for life and all it has given me.  I hope I am using this, my one life in a productive way.  I feel most fortunate to be in a career that allows me to help people who really need help.  I am not a doctor, and I respect doctors more than anything.  I am not a soldier or a teacher (each of those careers really protects and saves the world), but I still know I help people going through very difficult times.  With all that’s going on in this world, we must see the good and do what we can to make it better.  Everyone has the right to be happy.  There are so many people doing so much to help others.  I admire so many leaders in this world that devote their lives to curing poverty, starvation, cancer, diabetes, hatred and other plights.  If there is one thing I have left to do, it is to do more to help others.  That is my pledge for my 50th birthday.  There are many ways to help and I must do my part.  Life has been good to me and I want to be good to it and to this wonderful world.

I enjoy being a part of this world and am blessed to have been in it for 50 years.  I wish everyone a very happy November 23rd and a very happy life.