14,235 (Plus 1)

I’m another day older and 364 days from hitting another milestone. It actually happened yesterday on the calendar. I was playing football for the first part of my day. To any North American brethren reading this, I’m referring to the real football, not the football where you use your hands and an excess of shoulder padding, but the one where you use your feet. Very aptly named don’t you think?

The game went as well as could be expected. I managed to get a yellow card for trying to describe to the blind linesman how to interpret an off-side rule. By my understanding it has something to do with the last defender and the opposition’s forwards. He seemed to think it had something to do with how you wave a flag and whether your friends think you are doing semaphore. I digress. I got a yellow card.

The day was warm and I went back to the Bonn Lair with the team for a quick pint before heading back to Folsom, In a strange turn of fate, one pint became two and two became “Let’s go to the Streets of London Folsom”. No pressure needed. It was, after all, a good day and Debby would meet us there to go to the movies.

Debby has a very good knack at keeping surprises quiet. And she did it again. I was truly expecting to go to the movies. Instead I was warmly welcomed by the most diverse group of friends you could meet. Apparently someone (not mentioning any names) had tipped them all off that yesterday would have been a great day for fish and chips or bangers and mash at the Streets.

This group of people were there to wish me well, through no other motivation than the true friendship that I had with each one of them. Not because of the result of any achievement, not because I had gobs of cash to spread around (I don’t by the way – just in case you were wondering), but because in some weird way, they appreciate me for who I am and decided to celebrate me managing to get past another 365 days and chalk up another notch on the yearly tally.

I’m a lucky person. I should have probably got two yellow cards not one. But I’m luckier because I know a group of individuals who came together for me to celebrate something that I generally don’t really mind if I celebrate or not. Another year is really just another day. But every day should be celebrated for the friends you have. And them all being there to remind me how much I mean to them – that tops it all.

Thank you to all of you, but especially to Debby – you keep managing to spring these surprises on me even though I keep thinking I’m not so dumb to fall for “another surprise”.

Yesterday I was 14,235. In another 364 days I’ll be 14,600. I’ll get there for sure. I just want to be able to look back when I’m 29,200 and say that I got to spend them all with the greatest people on this planet – my family and my friends.