Birthdays come and go, and what do you get; another year older and deeper in debt! Yea I had a birthday and it’s gone. There was nothing spectacular, the sun still came up and went down as usual. I really stopped celebrating birthdays a long time ago. I have spent so many of them in the army somewhere on some exercise or deployed to some country, they no longer really mean much.

When I was a kid, I loved birthdays. Mom always made my favorite cake with candles and all the fixings. There were presents and when I turned 18, she even fixed a special dinner and invited some of my close friends to join. I will always remember that one as it was something special she did. As I grew older, for me, life took over and birthdays began to not mean so much. It soon became just a day to mark the passing of a year for me.

Now I’m a little older (58) and I’ve began to look at birthday in a different way. My wife and I don’t really celebrate birthdays and such, which is fine with me. But the last few years I’ve began to look at them in a different light. I use the day to do reflections of the past year and maybe look forward to the next year and maybe try to figure out what I want and where I am going.

This year as I was driving to my different customers shoeing their horses, I use that time to reflect on the past year. What did I really do? Well I got a book published: THOUGHTS OF A CRAZY OLD MAN. It was fun writing it, but I will say, I if I knew it was so much work, I don’t know if I would have done it. And the cost – well, I’ll guarantee I won’t quit my day job! I really don’t plan on getting rich over this writing thing. Getting published the traditional way, getting a publisher and such is very hard today as there are so many out there. I went with the self publishing bit which means I fork out all the money for the costs up front. And me, I have a limited income to work with, so I can only do so much, but hey, I got a book published and it was fun.

I also expanded my knowledge this past year by attending some farrier clinics. By this time in my career, it’s not the big things I learn, but many of the small things and tricks of the trade I learn that helps me with my job.

Between Christmas and New Years I got a new floor put in part of our upstairs. Insulation, sheetrock and new ceiling tiles were also installed later and the room looks great! I also forked out a few bucks to get a new roof over our heads. It has a 30yr guarantee, so hopefully won’t have to do that again!

I also took my annual sanity trip to Portugal. Got a friend who lives down there and when I go visit John, it is back to the basics! He has a few things lined up but there is never really a schedule. My mobile phone is non-existent. And guess what – no one has his phone number so there is only outside contact if I want it. This year I did something I never thought I’d do – I took my laptop with me. Since I got into this writing thing, I’ve found it very relaxing. Almost every day I was there I pulled it out and banged out a few words. I found being in a relaxing setting I was able to write so much better. One thing I’ve found out – I can’t write at home. Too many distractions.

This past year I lost the most best, loyal friend I’ve had in the world – Jessy my 13 ½ yr old dog. Jessy was loyal beyond loyal and I miss her very much. It was 31 August and to this day, as I leave the house to go to work, I still say good-by to her and every evening when I get back I let her know I’m back. Sounds pretty crazy, but that’s the way it is and will be. On the last day of every month I always light a candle for her.

And we also got a new addition to the family. After the loss of Jessy, Coco found her way into our lives. This little ball of fur I instantly named – The Spawn of Satan, as she earned every letter. Now she has calmed down a bit and is slowly worming her way into my life. Every morning as I get my coat on and ready to leave the house, she is right there wanting to be petted and let me know she loves me. Every evening she needs to have her play time with me and we take that quality time and really enjoy it. Any time I am home on weekend and days off, she’s got a ball in her mouth and ready to play.

So in my reflections of my past year – over all it has been a good year. Some up and some downs. But no one ever said life was always a bed of roses! It was a good birthday. One of my customers gave me some chocolate chip cookies – fantastic. Another one had some fresh baked bread with cheese – what more can a guy ask for? I’m glad I do birthday like I do. I don’t need presents and stuff, but I do like the reflections of the passing of time.

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