Wow this was quite the process and I am glad I did when 40 and not 80. Such a beautiful time thinking back on the memories and people over the years – really amazing and I encourage anyone to do the same…
A little look back as I always like to do on this day but this time back as far as I can remember.
1978: 0. Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Adelaide – being born
Don’t remember that one so much but from all accounts it was pretty traumatic for both myself and mum, almost killing us both at different stages. I have been told I was without oxygen for a long period of time (which probably explains a lot!)
1979: 1. Minlaton, South Australia – crawling about
Again no too many memories of this one… Fairly sure I was just being one and hanging out in Minlaton having just moved there from Mt Pleasant
1980: 2. Minlaton, Yorke Peninsula, South Australia – being 2
Not a big b’day for me but hope someone got cake
1981: 3. Minlaton, South Australia – preschool
Wasn’t a fan of preschool and was a bit of a mummy’s boy or to any of my sisters and brothers
1982: 4. Minlaton, South Australia – kindy
Again still no memories of birthdays just yet but remember being 4 and wanting to be 5 for the whole year
4th birthday and got a shirt from WA from my godfather!
1983: 5. Minlaton, South Australia – starting school
This one I do remember as I got a new bike (second hand bits and pieces bike dad made from old bikes) and it was bright yellow. Plus it was school time! A backpack with an Aussie flag on the back.
1984: 6. Kadina, northern Yorke Peninsula, South Australia – year 1
Change of town for me and think I scored pretty well on this birthday with a Star Wars backpack and ET blow up chair!
1985: 7. Kadina, South Australia – year 2
This one I remember as I was given a puppy by my sister and it got a bit sick the first night and then vomiting blood the next and died soon after but a nice thought… and my sister was into making me birthday cakes!
1986: 8. Kadina, South Australia – year 3
Classic with my best friend Travis Borlace and very heavily into football paraphernalia and the Woodville Warriors – who my brother played for…
1987: 9. Kadina, South Australia – year 4
I remember this one really clearly as Travis Borlace came back from Adelaide and I had been sent Halloween stuff from my oldest sister in the US the year before and so I had a Halloween themed birthday with Travis and homemade sausage rolls (my favourite food back then!)
1988: 10. Kadina, South Australia – year 5
I had a party for this one as I was starting to try and impress the girls and got presents from girls for the first time like smelling rubbers (erasers) and trucks from the boys.
On my actual birthday day I remember having meat fritters and getting a slot car set but had to stop early because I was so excited and kept say geez which my mum thought was blasphemy and said if I said it again I would have to stop and in the excitement geez it was good – hence game over!
Photo: footy awards night, a big deal & trophy!
1989: 11. Adelaide, South Australia – year 6
Made the big move to the city and pooled a bunch of friends together for a sleep-over and a football carnival the following day
1990: 12. Port Augusta, South Australia – year 7
First birthday away from home while on a football trip for the week. Was staying with a kangaroo shooter and on the afternoon of my birthday I managed to have a massive football injury where I turned my elbow inside out and break the growth pallet in the middle of the elbow – ouch. But my dad drove the 3 hours to pick me up and then take me back home that night with a broken elbow!
1991: 13. Adelaide, South Australia – high school and year 8
Now at high school and an al- boys catholic college… remembered not wanting to tell anyone it was my birthday for the torrent of punches I would receive for each year…
1992: 14. Adelaide, South Australia – year 9
With my two best friends at the Mongolia Grill – all you can eat. Being 14 and growing I remember eating a lot. First of many great b’day memories with my two best friends Tom and Andrew.
1993: 15. Adelaide, South Australia – senior school, year 10
Had a sleep over birthday party once again but setting off chlorine bombs and playing strip pool down to our jocks but only boys… seemed to make sense when you are 15
1994: 16. Adelaide, South Australia – year 11
Again another sleep-over just with Tom and Andrew watching toilet humour that they had given me for my birthday – Bottom and Bargearse
1995: 17. Adelaide, South Australia – year 12
Family dinner with a couple of brothers, a sister and my beautiful grandmother – I think I had Japanese ramen on the menu
1996: 18. Adelaide, South Australia – working at winery and vineyards
Cool small party with friends just after our high school graduation and just before I took off to Japan for 9 months.
1997: 19. Adelaide, South Australia – Flinders University 1st year
Now back in Australia and at university but not liking being back in my own country. Great birthday however with a family dinner and a few friends
1998: 20. Adelaide, South Australia – uni 2nd year
Still at uni, still hating it and just wanting to fly the nest but again a top birthday with many a drink at a pub with friends
1999: 21. Adelaide, South Australia – uni 3rd year
The big 21st Birthday Party… I think around 70 people at the Sacred Heart Middle School club rooms – bad taste theme and lots of safari suits!
2000: 22. Mt Gambier, South Australia – uni 4th year and teaching practicum
Away on teaching practicum in the countryside – loving it and a great school day teaching Japanese to 5-year-olds and PE to 12-year-olds
2001: 23. London, England – supply teaching at primary schools
Finally out and about the world! Went to Lord’s cricket ground for the tour and was job hunting as I had newly arrived.
Photo: leaving Australia that year to take off (forever!!!)
2002: 24. Pusan, South Korea – teaching English
Teaching English and with my Canadian girlfriend at the time who organised a surprise birthday for me at a traditional Korean bar with dong-dong ju (milky rice wine) and pajan (vegetable pancake) with loads of friends from Canada, Australia, Korea and elsewhere…
2003: 25. Nanporo, Hokkaido, Japan – English teacher
On the Japanese English Teacher program and teaching during the day and a wonderful dinner with my neighbours – Mr and Mrs Matsuda in the evening with incredible Japanese food, plus cards and gifts from my parents!
Photo: Matsuda Sensei and b’day bonanza from Okusan!
2004: 26. Vancouver, Canada – teaching snowboarding and English to foreign students
What I remember of this birthday was great… out with my friend from Japan, Rich and some buddies and them basically forcing me to drink till I had a station pizza (vomit) sure I was kicking and fighting…
Photo: slight change of food from the year previous and looking like a beer hound with some weight on my face!
2005: 27. Todos Santos, Guatemala – working at volunteer program for gringos
Where I first started the trend of getting up for sunrise for my birthday. A great day where I took special medication that allowed me to keep my dysentery away for a day, drink alcohol and eat curry made by my mate Loz and shared with some lovely people visiting the town – Amity and Tom.
Photo: sunrise on a hill in the highlands of Guatemala; and b’day curry with Loz and Tom (who I still keep in touch with!)
2006: 28. Maceio, Brazil – teaching for an English tutor program for university students started by a couchsurfer and I, and teaching at public schools
Outside hanging out with my local friends and the family where I was staying – good food, good people and cashasa (the local fire water)!
Photo: with Sergio and his family where I lived for 3 months in NE Brazil
2007: 29. Tumby Bay, South Australia – teaching my beloved year 3/4 class
Half way through the year of being a ‘real’ teacher and shared it with my wonderful students. Sunrise on the beach in Tumby, day at school and then headed up to Lock (town name) to have dinner and for a conference the following day. The kids tried so hard to make my day special, and it was… also got my bike covered in balloons and streamers!
2008: 30. Bonga, Ethiopia – teaching teachers at a teachers college (but mainly learning!)
An incredible day where I ran my first marathon. I came first, second and last – it was only me. Looking back on it I was a bit crazy and a huge challenge but it has certainly toughened my up for anything else in my future and let me understand how people have to be that resilient everyday… My incredible friends and family also raised $5000 to go to the local orphanage – amazing and life changing for so many kids in the community
2009: 31. Adelaide, South Australia – in between riding a bike around New Zealand, teaching in Aboriginal communities and starting with the Global Poverty Project
I did a 31km run from my sister’s house in McLaren Vale to Adelaide and thought this would be something I’d do every year – nup. Lovely birthday back with my family. Was also the start to a boys weekend with dad for the last time…
2010: 32. Adelaide, South Australia – volunteering and presenting for the Global Poverty Project
A bit of a strange one this birthday as I was on the verge of hemorrhoidectomy, dad being quite sick and had just re-met an amazing woman who would become my longest girlfriend ever (to that point) but was also a great night of food and family at my sister Lulu’s house and vineyard
2011: 33. Sydney, Australia – working for the Global Poverty Project and becoming a volunteer leader with Australian Volunteers International
I was at my brother’s house and breaking a month of Living Below the Line ($2 a day for all food and drink). Good sunset, custard and company!
Photo: best custard ever!!!?
2012: 34. Quebec City and Montreal, Canada – leading The End of Polio campaign in Canada
A remarkable day of fortune, thunderstorms and smiles. A very early sunrise in Quebec City, 4.15am wake up!
Amazing thunderstorm and then torrential downpour so enjoyed my homemade custard in a bus shelter hiding from the rain. Then managed to stumble into a Rotary Club presentation and speaking on polio eradication!
Great place I am staying with a friend of a friend who cooked me an amazing salmon dinner, with Quebec beer, a walk around the area banging pots and pans (8pm protesting against the government for 75% increase in fees for students) and chocolate cake! Si bon!
2013: 35. Willunga, South Australia – home owner, biological provider and about to embark on the Stop the Transmission Of Polio program in Africa for 6 months
Started day with a run up Willunga Hill, a blog under a big beautiful gumtree – https://lunny06.wordpress.com/2013/05/29/34-to-35/ dinner at my sister’s place with wonderful vege and fish curries!
2014: 36. Aldinga, South Australia – tiny house number 2 and Teaspoons of Change
Highlight was the sunset with a Coopers Sparkling Ale over a typically beautiful evening in Willunga in the fulltime effort to build the second Happy, simply community house project! Hung out with my mum and enjoyed her cooking and company for dinner. I also made solemn resolutions to go for a 1000km walk in Japan to kick start a new idea called Teaspoons of Change. Wrote my blogin the evening with my Coopers beer: https://lunny06.wordpress.com/2014/05/29/privileged-and-passionate-in-my-35th-year/
2015: 37. Juba, South Sudan – beaten up by soldiers but still I love with humanity
Rooftop post sunrise on the UNICEF building with my rolex (chapatti with fried egg in it). Couldn’t get up before sunrise as the curfew they have of daylight hours only in South Sudan (for UN workers) and also around sunrise just a few days before I was walking near the president’s palace (unknowingly) and got beaten by some South Sudanese soldiers. This day was much calmer as I enjoyed my rolex, worked on communications for a polio-free South Sudan and felt gratitude towards a world that has let me interact with it in such a wonderful way… https://lunny06.wordpress.com/2015/05/29/nothing-special-but-always-special-37th-year-ahead/
2016: 38. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Teaspoons of Change presentation to 100’s, Flaming Lamborghinis and a very special woman…
This was an action-packed day in KL. At midnight in the first minutes of being 38 I was drinking Flaming Lamborghinis in a swish bar in Kuala Lumpur hip hop dancing and having present to hundreds of young global citizen enthusiasts in the day light hours previous. The day after this midnight start was also wonderful, not much movement out of the hotel room but every minute special and spent with a woman I was falling madly in love with…
2017: 39. Tokyo, Japan – Rotary Peace Fellow learning about peace and itching for the world
The sunrise in summer in Japan is early – 4.23am to be exact where I was in Mitaka, Tokyo. I didn’t get up for the sunrise but soon after at 5,30. I looked over the small Chofu airport had a can of pokari sweat and wrote about a challenging and rewarding 38th year of life – https://lunny06.wordpress.com/2017/05/30/38-a-year-like-no-other-but-what-year-ever-is-in-my-life It was written with one month of study to complete and then field work and research for the coming year. The day was a busy one with assignments and lectures but a wonderful one as my Serafina had complied a video of b’day messages from around the world…
2018: 40. Jakarta, Indonesia – JUMP! Foundation program but national holiday – sunny day for a walk + being dehydrated, sunburnt & exhausted
There were a number of plans in my head for this birthday, especially a marathon since that is what I did for my 30th b’day but the equator, running and a lack of training meant no marathon for me but the least I could do is a 40km walk and so I did! Sunrise next to cess-pool, otherwise known as a lake in Jakarta and watched a wonderful video Serafina prepared for me of the biggest hobo https://www.facebook.com/100008024268256/videos/2118051821805606/; then walk along busy highway for too long to get a series of annoying bus trips that are slow and wait to pick up people all the time to the city of Bogor. Hope to hike up a volcano so set out towards one and by the time I got to the base of it I had been hiking and sweating for too many hours and too buggered to go further up. It was a lovely day of urban hiking and lunch was in some bushes hidden from people as it was Ramadan. Eventually I made it back to Countrywood the overly luxurious accommodation where I took a swim in the pool and assessed my prodigious sunburn. Dehydrated, sunburnt, hungry and exhausted Rick I went for a dinner of noodles and tea-tarik (sweet milky tea). A quick chat with Fina and a very welcome bed to read b’day messages and fitful sleep of being exhausted – just the way I like it (except for the sunburn).
And a blog on how grateful I am to be 40… https://lunny06.wordpress.com/2018/06/10/40-years-a-whole-bunch-to-be-grateful-of