Its my 90th birthday. My closest friends and family have gathered to help me celebrate a long life.
I tell them about the year I spent in Breckenridge, Colorado. A life of snowboarding, working in a pharmacy, and enjoying the serenity of the mountains.
I tell them about my first trip abroad to Colombia, where I helped children with their English.
I tell them about my second trip abroad. A trip to Paris and the french countryside to witness one of my best friends, Bertrand, get married. It was such a beautiful wedding. So much champagne, laughing, and dancing until the sun came up.
I tell them about my internship in Korea, working in the video game industry, and having to sleep nightly in a bed infested with bedbugs.
I tell them about my accidental personal discovery of Manila and the 5 months I spent there that changed everything!
I tell them about moving home and taking a massive step back from reaching my goals, but like a bow and arrow; it was this drawback that helped propel me forward!
I tell them about attending my first World Cup. The scream of the crowd, the passion of the supporters, the coming together of the world.
I tell them about the 6 months I spent in South America, soaking up the culture and enjoying life the way it was meant to be enjoyed.
I tell them about my many skydiving jumps over places like Rio de Janeiro, Dubai, and Boracay.
I tell them about my trips to Iran and North Korea, which seemed unheard of in my youth.
I tell them about my return to Manila. A return to the place that felt more like home than anywhere I had ever been.
I tell them about my long overdue backpacking trip through Europe one summer with my best friends, Johnny and Kyle.
I tell them about walking, hiking, and climbing remote sections of the Great Wall of China.
I tell them about swimming with whale sharks in the Philippines and great white sharks in South Africa.
I tell them about my trip to Saudi Arabia to visit my brother Moayad.
I tell them about learning how to sail and free dive.
I tell them how I met my wife, and how much of a blessing she was to my life.
I tell them about the the greatest things I learned from my father, to be patient and work hard.
Expect failure, but work through it! The most successful people are those that don’t give up.
I tell them how people will say they can do anything they want with their lives, as a child. Then as an adult, they will say to be “realistic.” These are the same people who will regret the things they DIDN’T do while they were young. I encourage them not to buy into that and tell them that they are able to create their own reality, their own path. Also to find whatever they love and make it their profession.
My friends and family came to help me celebrate my own life. What can I do but help them celebrate their own in spectacular fashion?