I have one last week in my 30's.
As with many moments in my life it seems that a Buffett song explains my feelings best:
Trip Around the Sun
Hear 'em singing Happy Birthday
Better think about the wish I made
This year gone by ain't been a piece of cake
Every day's a revolution
Pull it together and it comes undone
Just one more candle and a trip around the sun
I'm just hanging on while this old world keeps spinning
And it's good to know it's out of my control
If there's one thing that I've learned from all this living
Is that it wouldn't change a thing if I let go
No, you never see it coming
Always wind up wondering where it went
Only time will tell if it was time well spent
It's another revelation
Celebrating what I should have done
With these souvenirs of my trip around the sun
"It wouldn't change a thing if I let go" - how true. But, how fortunate to enjoy this ride.
As this pirate looks at forty, I am thankful for what has been an incredible 40 revolutions. I am certain that I did not design my path. On my own I never could have found the wonderful woman I share my life with and I never could have dreamt up the incredible children I have in my life. In addition, I have somehow been blessed with so many deep friendships. Friendships best defined by C.S. Lewis, "Eros will have naked bodies; Friendship naked personalities."
Danae has been the greatest friend. She has kept me accountable, pushed me harder than anyone, been there through the best and worse, celebrated the greatest victories with me and picked up the pieces after the biggest defeats.
I have seen few come from a past like hers and turn it into a great story of strength, success and faith. Sharing over 23 revolutions around the sun with her has been one of the greatest blessings of my life.
The last 14 revolutions about the sun have included Sarah. I have seen few to none like her. At 13 she has direction, understanding, faith and knowledge that I didn't even know to want at her age. I am so proud to be her dad.
Don the IV has been a great son. He is ten times the man I am and over the last 11 revolutions he has been an incredible example of patience and diligence. He is so much different from me, for which I am glad.
I fear spotlighting friends because there would be so many that I'd miss but, my friends have taught me how to me more Christ like, have gracefully dealt with my short comings, and have been there for many of my life's greatest moments. So if you're not in here, it's just impossible to recall it all.
Monty has simply been a great friend. Richard has shown me some of the greatest spectacles on the Plant. Britt has built my faith. Mike has been a brother. David has been a rock. Al has provided more for my family and I then I ever dreamt possible. Darrin has been confidant, Don and David B invested in me. Gerald was a friend when I had none. Eric is a beacon of hope at all times. Mark H keeps me accountable. Cliff has shown me true religion. Jeff S made God more real to me. Matt L has taught me gentleness. Myk has shown me perseverance through the toughest of circumstances. Lance has taught me honor. Clint and John P have shown me mercy. Trevor has shown me stewardship. Charles is what every friend should be. Cody has made me laugh for many years. Tim T exudes "No Fear". Andrew challenges me to more. Gerry has show how to step up to tough tasks. Joe has shown how to be the textbook dad. Quad has made hunting a tradition in my home. Erich has shown kindness to my family. Forgive me - there's so much more I should put here.
3o revolutions ago my mom introduced me to the living God and my father set the groundworks of my ethics. I'm glad they are still here as I begin the next go around. My dad also imbedded in me a wonder-lust to see the world which I hope only expires when I do.
Over the last 20 revolutions I have been in a career, and the people to thank there are numerous as well. Chuck Brinkman for giving me my first job. John Tenaglia and David Seibert - for teaching me everything I don't want to be and every way not to mange people. To Dave Cowley for taking on a young guy in a new business and thanks to Marcos Rodriguez for taking time to look at my resume and the breakfasts at the Four Season. Shawn Watwood taught me grace in business. Trey Morris shows how to bring energy to the job. Scott Wilder gave me my most treasured quotes like, "Be a get it done person in a whatever it takes world." And, "You'll know your a father when you put your hands out to catch throw-up." Al Boenker has allowed me to make big mistakes and learn from them - he has taught me more about business and life by being the example, than anyone. I am grateful for the many agents, some of them good friends, that have provided so many opportunities to me and the almost 200 people in our company.
Many revolutions ago in Middle School a teacher of mine Craig Hoffmann was the first adult outside of my family to show kindness to me and encourage a dorky 6th grader. I have spoken to him on many occasions since and thanked him. He is the greatest example of a teacher I have known.
In 40 revolutions I have loved much, laughed often, learned much, and cried little. Seems like a great 40 years.
I've always said when I am teaching - that the toughest things in our life have not yet come. I still believe this - so I don't anticipate that the next 40 years, should I have them, will be easy. I hope I get to see the good, the bad, and the ugly of growing older.
"I better think about the wish I make," says the song. So what would I hope for over the next 40 revolution.
I hope I circle enough times to take my grandchildren to Boston for Clam Chowder and stand with them on the edge of the Grand Canyon, swim with them in the clear waters of the Caribbean and watch the day pass in the old square of Prague. I hope God will include me in the work he continues to be about before death takes me to the next chapter. I hope my mind and thoughts will continued to be challenged and tested. I hope God will protect me from me and make me more like His son. I hope I will continue to know the struggles and victories of hard work. I hope to grow older and wiser with Danae at my side. I hope to watch our children grow to be, and do, whatever God's calling on their lives may be.
Jimmy Buffett sings, "Mother Mother ocean, I have heard your call. I wanted to sail upon your waters since I was three feet tall. You've seen it all. Yes I am a pirate, two hundred years too late. The cannons don't thunder, there's nothing to plunder, I'm an over forty victim of fate. Arriving too late." - Love the song, but I think I arrived right when I was suppose too - 40 revolutions ago.