Yesterday was my birthday. I turned 43 on a Monday. Not a very interesting number, not a very inspiring day to celebrate. I am not too big on birthday celebrations although it is nice to do something about it. To let is just pass unmentioned also feels a bit strange.
Of course there was a time were every birthday called for a weekender and mine especially. But those days are behind me. I have always liked to do something nice with a small group of friends. Although it is being organized already for the 27th time it was only in 2009 I discovered that documentary festival IDFA is always in the last 2 weeks of November and therefore always on my birthday. So my new birthday ritual is to go see a documentary with some people.
Of course I have a small group of people around me that I have been growing close to: my warriors. It was an easy decision to ask them to come see a movie with me. My puzzle was: with whom shall I go see a documentary? Immediate answer: my participants. Problem solved. Again: I didn’t have big plans, just thought it would be nice to do something together.
Initially I had a hard time picking a movie. There are so many and I feel some pressure because in my mind all the warriors have great cinematographic taste and a sharp opinion. I was staring at the schedule for a long time. Then I decided that we should just go see a movie at 20.00 because that was most likely the only time that everybody could make it.
Beforehand Sanne asked me if we would meet before, to have a bit of food. Nice idea. She took care of reservations and I let the others know that they were more than welcome. Unfortunately everybody else had meetings or other obligations. Oh well, I thought, Sanne and I would just grab a snack and then wait for the others at the cinema. I worked in the morning, had lunch with my buddy Bas and had a workout with Wouter where I set a new PR for squats in the evening. With low expectations but fresh and fruity and went to meet Sanne.
To my surprise I saw that Esther was also at the bar. I was like ‘wow, she made it, from the other side of the country!’ Moments later Arent comes in and I go ‘no way, he made it too!’. I felt so happy. Then, I kid you not, Tommy also walks in. I felt delighted.
We have some drinks at the bar. Or better: Sanne and Esther were drinking mineral water. All of a sudden I feel a little pang of nervousness. The 100 Day Warrior is all about clarity of mind; clean food, meditation, no sugar and definitely no alcohol or drugs. When I am asked what I want to drink a feel a bit of tension: will I give permission to cheat today? Tommy order a beer so I thought let’s not make a fuss tonight and order a beer too. But then I see that he ordered a 0% alcohol beer and I didn’t.. Oops..
Turns out they were already hoping to have one glass of wine with the food. By ordering a beer I unconsciously gave permission. And to be honest: after more than 70 days without a beer I must admit it tasted good.
When we went to our table I saw that there was a plate for one more. But I was sure that Erika could not come because she had to go the school of her son. She told me herself! But guess who walks in? Erika! Only now I realize that they had been playing me and it had been there plan all along.
Long story short: the night was beautiful on so many levels. I felt really touched and grateful that everybody had come. This was my first surprise party ever and therefore the best one. It was both strange and beautiful to see each other for the first time outside the gym or meditation room since our 100 day journey started. This also meant that for the first time we were completely equal which also meant that nobody had any problem taking the piss at me. I thought it was magical. We already sweat, cried, struggled, shared and have been silent together but now we found out that also in a bar we could get along perfectly. It felt like we were going through a reverse ice-breaking process: we have shared intimate feelings but now for the first time we had chit chat, shared mischievous stories and learned about each others work and also on that level we felt complimentary. At least, that was my impression. I had a feeling that we were filling in an important piece of our puzzle. It felt as if on some level we became complete.
Today I had a tiny, tiny hangover. Not a bad one, it was that beautiful type of hangover that feels close to being in love. You can’t concentrate, you grin all the time and you are reliving the moments of the night before. Completely unexpectedly my 43rd birthday had become one of the nicest ones ever.
This is episode 73 in a series of 100 blog posts that will be published daily during the 100 Day Warrior, a unique program around physical strength, inner wisdom and meaning. All posts are written by Atalwin Pilon, founder of Basic Goodness and creator of the 100 Day Warrior. For requests for motivational speaking, in-company workshops, online coaching and mindfulness training click here. If you would like to join our international community of brave and inspiring human beings or just follow this blog and receive updates, please click here or sign up on the right side of the page. Atalwin specializes in coaching smart and creative people, both groups and individuals. If you are interested in a free coaching session click here.
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