My birthday is this week and I’ll be 39 years old. Understandably, most people don’t exactly consider this year one of life’s milestones. However, the number holds a different meaning for yours truly. Life has come a long way in the past 39 years and I’ll share with you a couple of reasons why this upcoming 12 months of my life matters so much to me.
We all understand the symbolism in turning the big 4-0. Me, I could care less about next year. 39 has always been a very important number in my life and it begins from as early as age 8. Dressing out in my first set of pads for the Speedwell Tigers football team, my dad went into his closet and pulled out a football jersey of his own and handed it to me. It was his high school football one, #39, red and white just like my teammates'. The only differences were the fact that it was a little (lot) big on me and had white stripes around the arms (full disclosure, my mom loved the stripes so she could better keep up with me as I ran around the field). #39 was shed for #33 for four years in high school, but a full 10 years after watching my dad dig around his closet for that old jersey, I was off to play football as a Tiger, again, this time for Hampden-Sydney College. Being the highly sought after recruit that I was coming out of high school (sarcasm), I had no say in what number I would wear for the next four years. Much to my surprise, locker #39 had my name on it when I showed up for camp. My smile was ear-to-ear as I called home to tell my dad that I would again be wearing his number. What a great period of time, at an incredible institution, with guys who are still some of my best friends to this day. Those four years raced by and the next thing you know I’m taking a job in Raleigh, NC; the same one I’m grateful to have to this day.
But that was then and this is now. People tell you how time flies and, man, is that ever true. Existentially, I’m proud of where I am in the grand scheme of things. I’ve had more than my fair share of miscues in the nearly four decades around the sun, but I’m a grateful, hard-working, and optimistic man - and life has rewarded me for that. I have an amazing wife who helps me continually focus on happiness, health, and abundance as we raise our two boys who bring incredible joy to my time on this earth. My career is a blessing. I’m surrounded by clients and co-workers that I care deeply about and vice-versa. As I travel into this next year, it’s apparent to me that my life is full of people that I love, ones who love me, and those I miss dearly - especially the guy who gave me his #39 jersey back in 1988.
As I write this, the weather is cooling down and football pads are popping. My birthday present this weekend is playing in our member-guest golf tournament and it’s one of my favorite times of the year. Several 9-hole rounds and more laughs than can be counted. You never know...maybe I’ll shoot a 39 during one of my matches this weekend at the course.
Cheers to you, yours, and this blessing of a life.