Today, I turned 50.

It’s a big milestone and one that I welcome.

Whilst my knees don’t enjoy getting older, the rest of me doesn’t seem to mind and I’m enjoying this new season of life.

I know that the world is in turmoil at the moment, but if we look hard enough, there is lots to celebrate and to be thankful for.

So, in no particular order, here are 50 reasons that I have to celebrate:

  1. My darling wife, Karen, who has shared the adventure with me for almost half of my life now,
  2. Our three wonderful kids. Yes, they may be teenagers, but they are each fantastic children,
  3. Our beautiful home,
  4. Dusty, the golden retriever,
  5. My wider family on both sides, especially my remarkable mother,
  6. All of my great friends who have sent birthday wishes. I love you all,
  7. My job. I’m incredibly fortunate to work with a great group of people,
  8. All of of the people I have worked with in the past. Too many to name, but so many have made a massive contribution to my development,
  9. Moving to Bendigo. It’s been a great move for our family and I love it here,
  10. The humbling experience of last year. Sometimes, life doesn’t go according to plan, but the lessons we learn along the way and the resilience that we build can be invaluable,
  11. Richmond winning three of the past four AFL premierships. This may not be our year, but it’s been a great ride recently, so I won’t complain,
  12. My matching Richmond premiership mugs. Coffee never tasted so good,
  13. The recent Tokyo Olympics. The inspirational stories behind the striving athletes has been uplifting, especially…
  14. Patty Mills. What an extraordinary performance to help Australia win their first medal in men’s basketball last week,
  15. Our church. So blessed to have found such a terrific place to connect with God,
  16. Pastors from years gone by. I have sat under the teaching and leadership of some extraordinary Christians. I lost one this past week, but look forward to meeting again one day,
  17. The kids’ school and their teachers. They have flourished and made some great friends in their new environment since moving up here,
  18. The bush out the back of our place. It provides a great escape for me (and Dusty),
  19. Local wildlife. To see such a range of precious native animals in our area and even from our backyard always bring a smile to my face,
  20. My health. I’m not exactly in peak physical condition, but I haven’t had a sick day in about two years, so I must be doing OK,
  21. My glasses. I would be lost without them these days,
  22. parkruns. They have given me a new love of running and a reason to exercise,
  23. My new Hokas. A great birthday present,
  24. My walking shoes. Good for all conditions and terrain. A great investment,
  25. Our kids’ sporting clubs. They have great coaches and give them a chance to play the sports that they love,
  26. Music. My bluetooth speaker gets a solid workout when working from home,
  27. My kindle. I still love reading every day and this simple device has facilitated me reading almost 250 books over the past 10 years,
  28. Authors who have put pen to paper and taught me from their experience,
  29. Wifi. I can’t imagine getting through the past year without it,
  30. NBA2K. I can’t beat Hayden very often, but we have fun trying,
  31. Our neighbours. We live in a nice, safe, friendly street, which is lovely,
  32. Fajitas. Is there a better option for Saturday lunches? No, there isn’t,
  33. The local fish and chip shop. Seriously, $25 for a family fish pack. So good,
  34. Chocolate. Friday night footy isn’t the same without it,
  35. The weather. It’s coming to the end of Winter here in Australia and the sun is shining slightly warmer every day,
  36. Australia. We ain’t perfect, but I’m not sure that there’s any place I would rather live,
  37. Nice comfy recliners. Perfect for watching…
  38. Our big screen TV. It’s had a solid workout over the past few months, especially during times of lockdown,
  39. A full fridge and never having to go hungry. I should never take this for granted,
  40. Our small back lawn. I’m a terrible gardener and this is very easy to maintain,
  41. Strangers who smile. What a great way to bring joy to the world,
  42. West Wing. Karen and I are currently binge watching this amazing series for the third time,
  43. Star Wars, Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter, for taking us on incredible journeys and keep this old nerd young at heart,
  44. The first responders, emergency services and armed forces who help to maintain our way of life,
  45. Those who developed and delivered the vaccines. Thanks so much for your brilliance,
  46. The good people of wordpress. To have this platform and be able to write over the past 10 years has been a wonderful learning experience,
  47. You, the reader. Without you, I’m just journalling to myself,
  48. Any opportunity to serve and help. It’s a privilege to make a contribution,
  49. My optimism. It sure beats the alternative,
  50. Father God, who loves me so much that He sent His Son to save me and restore me to Himself.

Thanks again everyone for the warm birthday wishes.

Here’s to another 50 years!