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My Birthday Wish


by Glenn Shepard
October 20,  2015
Category:  Character


Sky jumping from the top of the Stratosphere in Las Vegas

Cruising the ocean floor in the Caribbean Sea

Zooming in a jetpack in Key West

Racing through the desert in a Lamborghini

With Chum Lee of Pawn Stars


Renewing our wedding vows with Elvis

Climbing in a WWII fighter plane for a dogfight

A night on the town in Sin City in a red Ferrari

The happiest place on earth for me

By now youíve heard about former professional basketball player Lamar Odom, who spent $75,000 at a Nevada brothel and ended up in a coma from drug use.

People say they canít understand why someone would do something like that.

But I understand completely, because Iíve been there and done that.

U2 summed it up perfectly when they sang:

I have climbed highest mountains,
I have run through fields.
But I still havenít found what Iím looking for.

Thereís a simple reason people do drugs, cheat on their spouses, become alcoholics, get addicted to gambling, etc.

They want to feel good, and thereís nothing wrong with wanting to feel good.

Their mistake is that theyíre looking in all the wrong places for whatís missing in their lives. All of those things bring pleasure from a strictly physical perspective, but there are two problems with this.

First, the pleasure is only temporary. The consequences that come afterward can be quite severe, and quite permanent.

Second, people need more than physical pleasure to be happy. We also need to feel good about ourselves.

In Dr. Abraham Maslowís Hierarchy of Human Needs, he identified Esteem as the second highest of the five levels of human needs.

If youíve followed my work for any amount of time, you know what a strong believer I am that birthdays are the one day of the year people are entitled to be self-centered and self-indulgent.

And for my first 50 years, I did a pretty good job of that.

Past birthdays celebrations have been in Gatlinburg, the Bahamas, Cancun, New Orleans, Hollywood, and Key West. Theyíve involved everything from flying helicopters, World War II fighter planes, and jetpacks; to racing Ferraris and Corvettes; to swimming with the dolphins and cruising under the Caribbean in a submarine-like scooter.

My 50th (in 2013) included jumping off of the top of the tallest skyscraper west of the Mississippi River, meeting Chum Lee (from Pawn Stars), having an Elvis impersonator renew our wedding vows, and doing it all in a yellow Lamborghini.

Thanks to my beautiful bride, I also received birthday cards that year from Motley Crue, Heart, Toto, the Marshall Tucker Band, Huey Lewis, Dee Snider of Twisted Sister, K.C. and the Sunshine Band, and John Kay of Steppenwolf.

While I loved the rush that came from each of those, it was temporary and canít be duplicated every year. But one thing I did on my 50th birthday that can be duplicated was giving a $50 tip to our housekeeper at the Bellagio. Her English was limited and I couldnít understand many of her words, but the expression on her face said it all.

For that reason, I now celebrate each birthday by Paying It Forward. Today is my 52nd birthday, which I'll begin by leaving an envelope containing $52 with the manager of a Waffle House in Nashville to pay for meals of folks after me.

Weíll then deliver a birthday cake that reads ďThank You Nashville Fire DepartmentĒ to our local fire station. (Thanks to Erica Woodbury in Huron, SD; Bill Moak in Jackson, MS; Tammy Zook in Ft. Worth, TX; and Cindy Tennwalde in Lima, OH for this idea).

This doesnít mean I wonít be self-indulgent on my birthday.

In fact, the celebration already began last Friday when my beautiful bride surprised me with tickets to see David Spade, and front row 50-yard-line seats at the Tennessee Titans-Miami Dolphins game on Sunday. At dinner tonight, Iíll have an overpriced steak at a fancy Nashville restaurant, and a glass of 25 year old Macallan. Iíll also be meeting one of my musical idols, Randy Bachman, who wrote my all-time favorite song ďTaking Care of BusinessĒ when he was with Bachman Turner Overdrive.

Iíll still be self-indulgent, but I wonít be selfish.
It took me a half century to figure it out, but Pay It Forward Birthdays are a true win-win scenario. You get to do what you want to do, AND feel good about yourself afterward. Not to mention that you wonít dread getting older, because youíll look forward to that great feeling you get from doing something for others.

And who doesnít want to feel good about themselves?

Every day I see story after story about rape, child molestation, murders, fires, and traffic fatalities in the news. I canít change all of that, but I donít want to look from my death bed and wish I had done more.

And I donít wait to wait until Iím dead for people to celebrate my life. My wish is to know while Iím alive that I made this world a slightly better place.

To Your Success,

Glenn Shepard
aka Birthday Boy

P.S. For those who thought I was speaking literally when I said ďIíve been there and done thatĒ regarding the brothel, get your mind out of the gutter.

P.P.S. Although youíll be reading this on my birthday, I wonít be in the office today. Iím also a firm believer that no one should work on their birthdays.

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