I learnt more about life in this last week, than in all of my 43 years on this earth.

You see, last week, as I was about to turn 43, I found myself with nothing on my wish list. There was nothing, absolutely nothing, that money could buy, that felt I needed or even wanted in the least.

When I was younger, the list used to consist of some quirky jacket that I found online, the latest gadget that promised to make life easier, and perhaps a trip somewhere, but this time there was absolutely nothing that took my fancy.

“How sad” I thought to myself as I struggled to come up with some kind of a birthday wish list for my family and friends to choose from, “I’m turning into my dad!”

You see, left to his own devices, my dad does not even bother to unwrap a gift that he’s given; he’s that uninterested in material gifts and rude enough not to hide it.

So here I was, on the eve of my 43rd birthday, slowly turning into him.

But then, it dawned on me. “It’s my birthday, so I’ll fund raise if I want to.”  And that’s when I uploaded this to my Facebook Page and copied it to all my friends on Whattsap.

Then, a couple of days before the big day I changed my cover photo to this.

And when the day finally came and I was inundated by hundreds of good wishers on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Whattsapp, and Messenger, I replied with this message thanking them and listing all the donation numbers for different sanctuaries.

For the first time in years, I took the time to reply to each and every message personally, because this time, it was different.

This time I wasn’t just paying lip service to the many friends, acquaintances and strangers who bothered to send me good wishes.

This time the phone bleeping throughout the day and night didn’t bother me one bit.

This time I didn’t mind that I had to charge my mobile four times throughout the day to keep it alive.

Because this time I wasn’t just saying thank you for the sake of it.

This time I was on a mission.

This time my wish list was longer than ever and I wanted it bad.

Because this time I was making a difference.

Thankfully people responded positively to my request, and surprisingly no one told me off for being too forward, brash or rude. Let’s be honest, I’m no celebrity so I was half expecting a bit of a telling off with every reply that I got. But it never came.

Au contraire. Lots of money was raised, and lots of pet food will soon be distributed to sanctuaries, but all this was only possible because I went against what I was taught and told throughout all of my life.

You see, like most, I was brought up to believe that when we donate to charity or do any act of kindness, we should keep it to ourselves and not brag about it. In fact as a child brought up in Catholic schools, I was even told that bragging about acts of charity is like masturbating in public. So, as you can imagine, deciding to broadcast my mission to all and sundry, took quite a bit of self-convincing. But thankfully I’m very persuasive in that way 🙂

Vera Jankovic

And not only did hundreds of people contribute to my cause for my birthday, but today my very good friend Vera Jankovic celebrates her birthday, and guess what she’s asked her friends to bring with them?





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