As of 4 pm today, I will officially have been on this planet yet another year. I have been joking with friends that it is another year and I am older, but none the wiser. To an extent it is true. To an extent.
Actually, I have begun to realize that I am quite a bit wiser, and better yet, blessed.
See, there are a couple times a year where I like reflect on what I have done in my life. I like to think of the good, the bad, where I am at, whether I am happy, what I can improve on, and things I definitely would like to change. I don't do that necessarily on my birthday. Sometimes it is when there is an event in life, sometimes when absolutely nothing is happening. I just think about what it is I am doing.
I have been doing a lot thinking in that sense the last couple of days. The result is that I feel I am a pretty lucky guy. I am able to travel where I want, pretty much when I want and do the things that I want to do. I like that. I have done ok.
I think that is all possible because of the friends that I have. I owe them a lot. Much more than I could ever express.
See, I have various groups of friends. I don't have one bunch that I do everything with. I have my work friends, bar friends, college friends, and internet/poker friends. I am sure others have it this way as well; maybe not. Each is close and meaningful in their own ways.
Last night I spent time with my best friends from work. We enjoyed a nice dinner downtown at Monsoon, enjoying a number of Maker's along the way. After dinner we headed to Flannerys for some more cocktails. I was happy all night. Not just because they picked up the tab, but they also let me buy the booze at the bar. It was my party and I wanted to show them some appreciation back. At times I sat there just watching these people. A diverse group that comes together just to enjoy each other's company. I was just happy to be there with them.
Last weekend I was fortunate enough to enjoy the company of a group that I have gotten to know because of the internet thingy. The Bash at the Boathouse was a blast. I can't thank Al and Big Mike enough for their generosity in inviting me along for the ride. Two years ago, I didn't know any of them. If I hadn't gotten on a plane to go out to Vegas to play poker, I may not have. But I was willing to take off to meet people I had gotten to know via playing together online and reading their blogs. Simply put, one of the best decisions I have ever made. I have met people from all over this country, exposing me to different thoughts and cultures. Just another group that I am blessed to have gotten to know. Every time I get together with these people, I usually find myself taking a bit of time to stand aside, watching everyone having a good time, and I smile.
I still stay in touch with a number of people from college, though not as many, nor as much as I would like to. That is a part I can see changing. They basically are the foundation of what I have become, along with my family. Looking back, I realized I was so immature when I went to college. It was there that I opened up to many different things. Beside my love for the drink that is. Most of them have gone on to get married, divorced, have kids, etc. It makes me wonder how things could have been different.
Lastly, there is my bar friends. Named because I met them at PJs. Still sad to think that it is no longer. Man needs a good bar in their life. Through a good bar, you meet new people. People that will have an effect on your life. Some of those people are out camping this weekend. I would have loved to be out there with them, but I had stuff I had to do. But they know I would like to be out there. I also hope they know how much I care about them as well. If not, you know now. I will see the rest of that crowd tonight.
Not that my family isn't important to me. They have always been there for me in my rough times. I will be getting together next weekend to celebrate.
Yes, my friends mean a lot and I am humbled for them to call me their friend. But I always wonder about things in the past that would have changed my course in life. One event in particular that could have possibly led me down a different road where I wouldn't know any of them. I can't help but wonder if things hadn't gone awry with one woman, where I would be right now. I doubt the many things that happened afterward would have happened. I think my life would have been quite different. I doubt I would be typing a blog of all things.
She had an effect on me that she will never know. She changed how I view life. She showed me you must be open and learn all throughout life; it is a never ending process. If you keep yourself firmly rooted in your beliefs, that if you do not have an open mind, you can't learn from others around you.
That is where all of my friends come in. I learn from each group of friends that I have. Hell, the majority of these people are way smarter than I am. So I take time to listen to what they say- their experiences in life. I capture thoughts and ideas that I haven't been exposed to. I truly believe that the best thing you can ever do is listen to people. And continue to learn.
The things that I thought mattered coming out of college- mainly making a lot of money- are trivial compared to others. Sure I have my beliefs, but I try to see the other side. To be open to a different opinion. To respect others who you may not agree with.
The experiences I have had so far have been beautiful. Many ups and downs. But my ride isn't over yet. I feel the future holds great things.
And I hope all of these people will be there to enjoy it with me. Ok, enough rambling. I raise a toast to all of you today. To life and living to the fullest!