35

I really hate my birthday, which is weird because I really like other peoples’ birthdays. I’ve always had bad luck on my birthday. I remember when I was in middle school, I had been bullying someone (not something I’m proud of) and his father picked January 29th to pay a visit to my parents. Another birthday, I was going to Burger King (my favorite) to nurse off a hangover from celebrating the day before (another night I’m not proud of) and I cracked my car mirror against the garage. There have also been instances of bad birthdays that weren’t brought on by my own doing. Last year, I really wanted a low-key birthday. My plan was to come home (my finance’ was away in another state) and have a glass or two of bourbon and play video games…. unfortunately, the bulb in the tv went out the day before which ruined my plan.

So that brings us to today. I turn 35. I think once you turn 25 and get your final discount on car insurance, there really aren’t any great birthdays. The multiple of 5’s seem to be the hardest (although turning 30 in Vegas was something I’ll never forget). 35 is no exception. I don’t like the fact that I’m getting older. I think it brings the realization that the people I love are getting older too and won’t be here forever. I think it’s human nature to be scared of the unknown and the future.

A friend of mine recently posted the following on Facebook….

“Recently I had a conversation with an old friend who encouraged me to start my day by saying out loud 10 things that I’m grateful for in life. It truly helps! Here’s mine today in no particular order…”

He then posted 10 things he was thankful for. It was a personal and heartfelt post and I was glad he posted it because I got to know him that much more. I think as I turn 35, I’d like to do the same thing. To focus on the positive rather than how down I usually get. With that said…. here are 10 things I’m thankful for.

1. I’m thankful for Tobey. Tobey has been my companion and my best friend. He has been the one constant in my life and has seen me at my worst and has seen me at my best and has never judged. He’s sitting by my side right now.

2. I’m thankful for Lillian. Without Lillian, I never would have met my beautiful wife. For those unfamiliar with the story, I met my wife at the dog park. I was there on a date with another girl, but it wasn’t a love connection so the date left early. Tobey had a lot of steam to blow off so we stayed and ran into a beautiful weimaraner puppy and her owner. The next thing I knew, we set up a playdate and the rest was history. It’s amazing how life works. Lillian is the sweetest dog I’ve ever met and I love her unconditionally.

3. I’m thankful for my grandfather. His remains the only funeral I’ve ever attended. I don’t know why that’s relevant. He was my hero and I’m currently wearing his wedding band. He was the nicest man I’ve ever met. I hope to live up to be him some day.

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4. I’m thankful for my wife. Sarah puts up with my weird quirks and has so many of the same interests and traits that it’s scary. Her beauty, work ethic, and brilliance amazes me every day.

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5. I’m thankful for my family and in-laws. I wish I saw them more. Especially my Special K (although officially I’m not allowed to have a favorite).

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6. I’m thankful for my friends who continually to support me as flawed as I am. Jonny-boy, Matty G, Blinger, Smalls, Gines, Thunter, Chappy, Ackles, Harold and too many others to list them all. I’m continually amazed by the greatness of others.

7. To steal directly from my friend…. “I’m grateful for my job that allows me learn and grow and removes financial worries.” I’m incredibly lucky to work at a great company (everyone buy Nationwide products) that I believe in with others who share the same passion. In my time at Nationwide Financial, I feel I’ve made a difference in the lives of our customers. Whether it’s helping prepare for retirement or offering great products for businesses to offer to their employees for retirement, I’m thankful I’ve hopefully made a difference. I can’t wait for the next 12-18 months.

8. I’m thankful for Barb and Emily. Barb has changed my life and Emily is my longest continuous female relationship (I think Smalls is my longest ongoing friendship). They are both professional relationships so I don’t want to get into a lot of detail, but I can’t thank them enough.

9. I’m thankful for running. Although I quit cold-turkey the day before Halloween, I can’t wait to get back at it. It’s so amazing to be out on the trails with Tobey. I’ve pushed myself further than I thought possible and seen some amazing sights. I remember the sunsets and being face to face with a deer. I love how happy it makes Tobey and how it eases my mind. I love raising money for homeless animals. Spring cannot come soon enough.

10. As cliche as this sounds, I’m thankful for how hard life is. I don’t know where I heard it, but nothing easy is worth doing. One of my favorite stories is the biblical story of the lost brother (Luke 15:11). No matter how lost we get, there is always someone at the end who loves us and will welcome us home. One of the best sermons I’ve ever heard was by Glenn Zorb title ‘Life is hard, but God is good.’ No matter how hard things get, it’s peaceful to know that we are still loved.

So there it is…. Today I turn 35. I have more gray hair than I had at 34, but I also have so much more to be thankful for and I think this blog post helped me realize that.

If you have any comments on birthdays or turning 35 or any grammar corrections or other notes, please feel free to drop a note below!

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