It's October 15, and my little brother Sean—not so little anymore—turns 35 today. Sean and I used to look almost the same in terms of fatness and build. Many people thought we were twins. Then Sean discovered the vegan lifestyle and dropped a ton of weight. He eventually saw the light and switched to Atkins, thus allowing him to eat meat again (veganism proved boring, he told me; I'd have to agree). These days, instead of looking like my twin, Sean looks like the thin version of me that I'd like to become.
It was a real treat to have Sean in Korea for a few days. He and his buddy Jeff started in Korea as part of their whirlwind Asian tour; I took them all over the place in Seoul. After Korea, they hit Vietnam, Cambodia, and China. I was sad to see my brother leave, but happy to have had the chance to spend time with him.
Sean's life remains busy. He works six or seven days a week as a professional cellist, with all that that implies: gigging, playing in symphonies large and small, running a chamber group, and teaching privately. (Many of Sean's students have gone on to win competitions, a fact of which I'm very proud.) I don't know how he manages to stay sane. I'd have cracked and killed a few people long ago, especially if I had to teach some of the spoiled, overprivileged, undermotivated duds that Sean has had the misfortune of encountering over the course of his teaching career. His war stories have been sobering. At the same time, it's obvious that he loves teaching his more talented and dedicated students, and even the ones who aren't so gifted have made an impression on him if they'd made any effort to excel. Sean is very giving with his time.
I hope the birthday boy has the chance to stop for a couple hours and just relax on his special day. I wish I were in a financial position to send him a nice gift, but unfortunately, that's going to have to wait until next year, when I'll be sitting pretty, monetarily speaking. So here's wishing my little bro a happy 35th. May his hair get no grayer, and may he continue both doing what he loves and loving what he does. Hard work isn't so hard when you love it.