On November 16, 2019, I sent an email to family and friends inviting them to celebrate the “half-time of my life” at the end of May, 2020. I could have also called it the “31st anniversary of my 19th birthday,” or simply let them know I would be crossing half the half-century mark. Many had signed up, and in February 2020, the organisation of the event was done.
But sadly, we all know what happened after that. The world went into a stand-still for 2 years. It was impossible to even think about having a party and celebrating with friends. By the end of 2021, I started another attempt at organising the event, and with the world opening, it became more and more likely it could happen in June 2022.
As the big day drew closer, I was quite anxious about how it would go.
I had big hopes for it, as it would be a day when many people who mean a lot to me and who have witnessed me… and helped me… in all kinds of situations in my life, would come together. I wanted to say, Thank You. Many of them knew each other, but a lot also would meet for the first time. When preparing for the party, I had an image in mind. A large group photo of happy smiling faces against a beautiful sunset.
But before that was possible, there was a lot to prepare, such as organising an 11-a-side football game, which entailed a whole lot of details including pitch booking, jerseys, referee, water and drinks etc. Beyond the football, there were other logistics to be handled… booking a venue, hotel accommodations, and a DJ, and arranging for the dinner menu, table allocation, speech, dress code, taxi logistics, guitar songs, etc.
The list looked completely overwhelming at first, but I learned a very important lesson when executing it. I learned to lean on people! My father brokered the connection to the football club and venue. My good friend, Juergen, organised the taxi transfers, “volunteering” his son Joerg as a dedicated driver. Anne supported me with all the communications. Rock-Opa Ralf helped me with the guitar songs. My sister, Heidi, prepared toys for the little ones. Martin volunteered as referee. Thomas and Marcus agreed to be captains for the football game. Linda volunteered as photographer. The other Linda organised a wonderful photo-box… and the list went on. It felt as if everyone were chipping in and helping. Just like that, the burden on my shoulders reduced and I started to smile, relax, and enjoy the beautiful day.
The football game ended in a dramatic, but well-fought, draw due to last minute VAR (Video-Assistant-Referee) intervention, something which the highly competent referee, Martin, had strangely enough predicted before the game. The penalty shoot-out was an absolute nail biter with Lucky Strike FC beating Happy Feet United 10 – 9 due to a magnificent performance by Zafer – the black cat from the Bosporus.
The party started with wonderful costumes and a beautiful atmosphere of friends and family coming together … celebrating life after 2 years of COVID madness.
My speech went well. Our guitar songs with Rock-Opa Ralf had everyone singing together and DJ Dirk Duske smashed the dance floor. It was just wonderful!
I could not stop smiling. I love reuniting after such a long time with people dancing, talking, drinking, laughing, and enjoying themselves. Even now, four weeks later, I still feel deeply touched. The youngest participant, little Leni, was not even one. The oldest were my mum and dad… at 81. Everyone connected with each other. Everyone was positive and happy. And then there was this image of the large group picture of happy smiling faces against a beautiful sunset…! See for yourself!
Now, you may wonder why am I talking so much about this event?
In hindsight, what I felt during that evening and in the weeks since then, and what I took away from this wonderful day was… L O V E … the deep caring love and feeling of being supported. That sense of not being alone… of belonging. That feeling of lightness. The sense that others have your back. The uplift in someone giving us a smile or making us laugh. The gift of simply being together in joy and supportiveness.
I wanted to bring a little of the spirit I felt at the party to you, to remind ourselves of what’s really important in life. As Tone sung in the previous newsletter “… the love that gets us by and being grateful for the people that surround us!” !“
To put this into action, I would like to challenge you to reach out to someone today, someone you may not have been in touch for a while or someone who is with you frequently. Say Hello. Send a smile. Give them a little love. Or, if maybe you, yourself, are not at your best, let a good friend know it and open the door to receive a little love back.
I strongly believe, when everything is said and done in our lives, we will look back and ask ourselves, “How much did we love?”
Can we not love a little more every day? Of course we can. And that will make all the difference.
Because in the end, ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE!!!!