Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays everyone.

Before we get too far into Christmas and New Year’s at our house I wanted to revisit a favorite holiday of mine, my birthday.

It’s December 9, if you want to mark it on your calendar. Technically it’s a “Christmas birthday” but it’s far enough out I can raise enough of a fuss to make a clear distinction between the two. The Christmas tree does not go up until after my birthday.

This year I turned 40. Leading up to the day I spent some time contemplating on just how best to celebrate.

When I turned 30, my wife and brother rented Sumo suits, giant foam cushioned suits designed to make the wearers look like sumo wrestlers, and me and all my friends battled it out in the yard. It served as the perfect way to bring in 30 and turned out to be greatly prophetic about my 30s.

It was during my 30s that I transformed a martial arts hobby into my fitness business.

So I felt that my fortieth birthday should be just as special. I wanted it to reflect who I’ve become and to usher in a new era of maturity and growth.

Enter the work party. Samantha first mentioned the idea and I was instantly excited.  A work party reflects who I’ve become.  I enjoy the time and effort I put into my projects and can see how the effort and reward have gone far to shape the man I’ve become.  What better way to celebrate that man than to share some of those opportunities for growth with my friends?  Besides, I’ve got a ton of work to get done and free labor is really handy.

The goats have managed to eat all of the foliage in the back that they can reach. What remains are all of the woody stems and anything growing over three and a half feet.  Clearing as much of this space as we could would go a long way to getting us ready for spring planting.

The 9th (write it down) was on a Friday this year, so we set the party for the afternoon and evening of the 10th. I invited lots of friends with the plan of three or four hours of work and then an evening of sitting around a bonfire talking and drinking, enjoying each others company and a hearty beef stew.

It was a huge success. We cleared a large area of densely tangled wisteria, privet and briars, cut fodder for the goats and built a huge, cheery blaze.

As you can see from the photo we had a great time doing it as well.

As a young adult I couldn’t see the appeal of quilting bees, canning days or barn raising as social events. Now they make perfect sense. Helping each other out not only insures that the jobs get done but make difficult or laborious tasks much more pleasant as the joys of good company erase any of the negative aspects of a hard chore.

I don’t think I’ll wait for my next birthday before I do this again. Should you decide to have a work party of your own let me know. If I’m near by I’d love to come by and pitch in, just keep the beer cold and the food hearty.

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