Reset and reflect.
I turn 41 years old today and let me be the first to say, I don't really handle birthdays well.
It isn't that age bothers me, I just have never been very comfortable with the focus and fuss being on me as I am MUCH more comfortable making a big deal about someone or something else. That said, I have been blessed with some amazing friends and as with most years, spent the last couple of days celebrating. Because around 28 years old I figured out two things, people really enjoy doing nice things as much (in some cases more) as I do and that your birthday is the ONLY holiday you get each year that is just for you.
So over past 13 years I have taken my birthday off ( or a day around it if it fell on a weekend ) to treat as my own personal new year. A day to reflect on the past year and recharge to ready myself for the next 12 grinding months. I love the grind, but everyone needs to get centered now and again.
My 40th year fell easily into my top three years of all time category behind becoming a father in 2012 and marrying Angie in 2008. These past 12 months I have experienced fear, excitement, growth, and accomplishment - at times all at once, which lead me to taking the leap and leaving a 20 year career to try on a new challenge.
That challenge, MLive has been the catalyst to drive me to do other things, like this blog, the new podcast, growing Way of the Warrior, taking up drums again, getting back into shape, putting a work life balance not only in perspective but at the front of the line, and most of all has driven me to be a better person hour by hour, minute by minute.
How does a job do that?
It doesn't, the environment does.
The ability to take chances without the fear of being fired, embracing the fear of failing in order to grow. People do that by encouraging you when you need it, giving you space when it is desired, and understanding that every relationship ebbs and flows and at times - you just need to go with it. You do that by coming to an understanding of what defines you and what sort of things you will and will no longer allow in your ecosystem.
That is what today is about for me.
The cake, the cheers, the song, the wine - those celebrations have a big part in the lead up, but today is more somber, more intentionally tranquil, and equally as important a part of my celebration.
So while many see my birthday ritual as "odd" I appreciate the amazing people in my life that just "get me" and encourage my treatment of my life as an adventure in experimentation. 41 years in and I feel as if I am just getting started and that level of excitement is sure hard to contain these days.
So to all of you who were apart of the past 41, get ready for the next adventure.