Today, on my birthday, I am grateful for a beautiful friendship.

During this morning’s birthday yoga and meditation, I was moved to write. Instead of being excited about presents, I woke up smiling at one simple gift – my relationship with my father.

I’ve spent much of my life in conflict with him, feeling annoyed, wound up, frustrated. We didn’t connect in the way I would have liked.

Dad is a skilled interviewer/interrogator. As a young boy it seemed the questioning didn’t end. A huge harrumph was always accompanied by “for god’s sake dad leave me alone!” (or far worse…). I can only imagine how nice it would be to hear your son swear at you.

Both archetypal Aries, our strong-will and determination has frequently seen us in horn-locked conflict. When Mum despaired (‘can’t you two just get along?’), others just thought that was how we were. I was inclined to agree – I didn’t ever think it would change. And then somehow, it did. 

On a recent break with him, I had more sidesplittingly funny moments than I can count. We laughed both with and at each other in a truly compassionate way. A world-first, I listened intently to sound business advice as he observes my evolution as teacher and coach. In the past I always heard this as being ‘told’ what to do, shooting him down immediately. Now I see that he only cares, only ever has cared. 

Without fail, he has been consistently working my corner and supporting me these 37 years. There were definitely moments that I wasn’t deserving: With my hand on my heart, I can say that I challenged him way more than he ever challenged me. I was a little shit.

Maybe this change is down to the hard and often gritty self development work I’ve been doing in the exploration of coaching? I would like to think that this is just one of the payoffs, however I don’t want to take credit.

The answer is actually quite simple: I am seeing my dad clearly for the first time in my life. He was always there, just as he is now, brilliantly funny, kind, generous and dedicated to making sure that his boy will be ok. 

So on this, my 37th birthday, I thank you Dad for the gift of our friendship. I would choose it a hundred times over anything that can be wrapped. 

After a round the world trip and much soul searching, I learned the lessons of materialism my own way. The irony is that he has been trying to teach me this all along.

All it really took was for me to look from a different angle, through a different lens. 

Here’s to truth and clarity. 

All those years ago…

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