On birthdays

Today I turned 45! Phew… where did the years go? Thank you to my many friends, colleagues, students and family that congratulated me on Facebook, sent a WhatsApp message or an SMS, or dropped me a line. I really do appreciate your interest in my life and well-being, and I am humbled by the sheer volume.

When one is young, birthdays are great, a real highlight on the calendar. If not for the parties, definitely for the presents. You dream about the presents… As life progress the presents matter less, much less, but the birthday stays special nevertheless.  Birthdays, I think, eventually becomes days to celebrate friendship and love, about the privilege and blessing of having had another year with those that you love… with your family, with your friends.

I realized again that it does not matter what you receive on your birthday, those are blessings undeserved… What matters most are the people around you… the people you celebrate with…

The late Stephen Covey in his best-seller “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” urges us to think about what people would say about us at our funerals. He identified 4 contexts: family, friends, work, church/community. A rather morbid exercise, but it drives the idea of “beginning with the end in mind” home very effectively.

I want to apply this idea to birthdays though – a lot less somber. Who will be celebrating next year’s birthday with me? What will we talk about at the party? Why would you bother to join my party?

I hope that the answer will lie in what I have done for you…


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