Wednesday, May 28, 2014

My 44th Birthday Speech

I turned 44 yesterday, which is today for most of you. It was a quite normal day at work, but my co-workers did insist that we all go out afterwards to celebrate. As gifts, I got a cake and a pack of smokes. Our venue was a rather unlikely place, which I talk about in the speech I was asked to give near the end of the evening. Fortunately, I was prepared...


“This is Burma,” wrote Rudyard Kipling some 80+ years ago, “It is quite unlike any other place you know.” (pause) I'm sure that, whereas there's a certain timelessness about this place, it's become unlike the place Kipling knew during his day. It even has a different name. The modern world is knocking on Myanmar's door, and she is opening the door a little at a time. Our very presence here is evidence of that.

I stand before you on my 44th birthday, here in an unlikely combination restaurant/car wash. Who would think to join these two kinds of establishments together? It is an unlikely place in more ways than one for me. If you had asked me on my 39th birthday where I'd be on my 44th, I certainly wouldn't have ever guessed Yangon, Myanmar. But like Myanmar, I've been through a lot of changes over these last five years. Mentally, emotionally, spiritually and geographically. Some of these changes were forced upon me due to unfortunate events; some are the results of choices I've made.

As we sit here in this suds-o-raunt, playing cards, I reflect on how much life itself is like this game of Apples to Apples. We're all dealt a hand, the content of which we have no control. As the game progresses, we discard parts of our hand and take on new cards. We decide the former. No matter what though, we play the hand we're dealt, and play it the best we can.

Unlike my 39th birthday, here on my 44th, I have a vague idea of where I want to be in five years. I started down the road to get there two years ago when I came to this part of the world. I may now be closer to the end of this game than it's beginning, and sometimes it concerns me that I seemingly at times still haven't figured out how to play all that well, but I'm happy where I am and like the cards in my hand. Thank you all for being here. 


(post note: okay, no one actually asked me to give a speech, but if they had, it would have been what I've written above.)


  1. Happy Birthday. I think having dinner in a restaurant/car wash is a very unique exciting way to spend a birthday. That is a good speech and they missed out by not asking for it. Here's to another great year.

  2. Happy Birthday. Know when to hold them. Know when to fold them. Don't bluff.

  3. Happy Birthday! May God bless you...

  4. Happy Late Birthday wishes to you! Nice speech


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