Today is my birthday, and like every birthday, I woke up, did a long Peloton ride, then got dressed and went to work. I’m not a huge fan of birthdays, and the LAST thing in the world I need is more stuff.
So, on this anniversary of the day I caused my mother immense pain, instead of asking for gifts, I offer nine gifts to you. I hope you find them valuable.
1) I want you to realize that your vision of who you are is skewed. You’re not ugly. You’re not as fat as you imagine. You’re not as awkward as you think, you’re not a loser, and you’re not doing worse than all of your peers.
2) I want you to remember that the race isn’t with anyone else. It’s not a sprint. It’s a marathon, it’s over the course of your entire life, and the only person you truly need to be better than today, is the person you were yesterday.
3) I want you to remember that spending one day every once in a while not working out and eating two cartons of Ben and Jerry’s while lying on the couch binge-watching The Office doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. It means you’re human, and you shouldn’t beat yourself up for it. (Seriously, there are like, 7.6 billion of us. Welcome to the club.)
4) I want you to remember that when you’re at your worst and think you’re absolutely and completely alone, you’re not. I guarantee you with every ounce of conviction in my body, that if you were no longer here, the world’s light would be a little dimmer, and there would be people who would no longer be complete without you.
5) I want you to believe that every screw-up, no matter how bad, how detrimental, or how embarrassing, has a grain of lesson in it, and if you can learn that lesson and apply it to your future, then your screw up was worth it.
6) I want you to understand that YOU will ALWAYS be in control of how YOUR story ends, and you have no obligation to be the same person you were a year, a month, or even a day ago. If you don’t like where you are, move. You’re not a tree.
7) I want you to reach out and reconnect with someone who has fallen off your radar. I want you to do it today, because tomorrow very well might be too late.
8) I want you to understand that every single one of us has demons lurking inside of us, and every single one of us fights a battle to maintain control over them, every single day. Every single one of us has self-doubt, every single one of us makes the occasional boneheaded mistake, and every single one of us is afraid that we’ll never truly succeed. Every. Single. One of us. Including me. Definitely including me.
9) I want you to remember that you’re loved. You truly are. If you don’t believe you are, head down to your local animal shelter, and sit with a homeless cat or dog for an hour. Then try and tell me you’re not loved.
I wish you a wonderful day today and every day, and as always, I thank you so very much for allowing me into your life.
Join the discussion 34 Comments
Beautifully written. Happy Birthday my son.
Thanks for this gift, Peter. I would like to share it, not digitally, with my son. He’s 19 and struggling right now and I think it will help. His birthday is next week.
This is so lovely Peter!! And it’s truly who you are: inspirational while making me more aspirational! I love it.
Love this! Happy Birthday!
Thank you for that Birthday gift. The best kind of gift is genuine, handmade and sweet. Have a great day and a fabulous year.
I am lucky to have meet you in your quest for adventure and expanding place in this world. Your world travel, inventive sprit, warm heart inspirers many, including myself. Looking forward with great anticipation to your future evolutions.
What a gift you are, Peter. Happy birthday. Thank you for the perfect words to start the day.
Thanks Peter. Happy birthday! Hope this next trip around the sun is the best ever.
Thanks, Pete! Truly means a lot to me. Happy Birthday!
Happy Birthday, Peter! You are PERFECT. I promise!
Happy birthday Peter. Thanks for the kind words and sending good vibes into the world. ❤️ Wishing you continued good heath. Enjoy your special day.
Every labor pain was quickly forgotten when I cradled you in my arms. You bring light and love into my world every day❤️
Beautiful! Have an amazing birthday, some cake and hopefully hugs from your daughter.
Such thoughtful and beautiful words, Peter! I cannot lie, I am sitting at my desk with tears rolling down my face because of the impact of your message! Thank you for this gift of prose you gave to us, and only good vibes – right back atcha! Happy Birthday!
Well put, sir. I hope you don’t get too much junk from your friends (as you have a ton of acquaintances). Happy Birthday, and here is to another successful trip around the universe.
Stay well, my friend.
Thank you for that, Peter! Great advice as always.
Happiest of birthdays, Peter. Your words are powerful and important. May you sleep with strangers again soon! xo
Such a gift and wise words. Thank you and Happy Birthday!!
I’m sharing this with my daughter who is off to college in a few weeks – love this and happy birthday Peter!!
So intuitively timely. As usual, you’re da bomb. Happy birthday!
Happy Birthday, Peter! Thanks for this beautiful gift. You’re one of the few people whose emails I follow, consistently read, and never hit “unsubscribe.” You’re truly one of the good guys and bring much-needed light to this world. Be well and be blessed!
This is truly one of the most beautiful acts of kindness that I’ve ever experienced. Thank you for your lovely birthday gift. Enjoy your birthday and stay safe..
Happy Birthday Peter
Happy birthday, Peter! Thank you for giving US the gift. You are a treasure.
Happy Birthday, Peter. You are a gift to so many….
Happy Birthday Peter! Such a wonderful message! Thank you!
I’m sharing this Peter, this was so wonderful, I wish you all the very best today and always Cyndi
Just beautiful sentiments. Happy Birthday! Hope you have the best year yet!
Having only met you once at a CPRS conference but have followed you since, I wish you a fabulous birthday filled with wonderful moments. Thank you for your thoughtful and kind blog; your words are wise and fitting reminders to us all as we navigate this thing called Life (credit: Prince). Happy Birthday, Peter!
Happy Birthday Peter! Thanks for your wise words whether be it professionally or personally, you have helped me with work, and my son’s ADHD. Keep soaring and sharing!
Thank you for great insights I so enjoy following you. Wishing you a fun filled birthday and fabulous year. From one Leo to another
Love it, Peter! Happy birthday.
Inspiring and beautiful. I needed this today. I read everything you right and always but always get something from it. Happy birthday. Thank you for being an encourager in this world.
Happy Birthday, Peter! Here’s a gift for you to remind you how you make a difference in so many people’s lives. Back in 2009, 2010 time period, I became friends with a woman who had started her own job search coaching/consulting business. Because I was subscribed to HARO, (Help A Reporter Out) which was still free at that time and still your project, I was able to connect her with a reporter from the Wall Street Journal who interviewed her and quoted her in an article. Her business got a great boost from it, she helped lots of people to find jobs and to find the support they needed during those difficult times (so similar to today) and after that she considered me to be a PR genius! Sometimes you have no idea how far the ripples of your actions will reach, and how much we appreciate you! It’s been my experience that often the smallest things we do, just by being ourselves, can have a huge impact on other peoples’ lives, without our ever knowing it. Keep on being you!