Celebrating My 50th Birthday in Las Vegas

This year I crossed a large milestone in my life and I wanted to make it a memorable one ... even though the pandemic made it a challenge.

Celebrating My 50th Birthday in Las Vegas

This year has been special in so many ways. Despite the global pandemic and the asinine political wars tearing apart our country, 2020 has been awesome - including celebrating my 50th birthday in Las Vegas.

It's great to know the albatross of home ownership and overwhelming debt is finally gone. Donetta and I both have lost a lot of weight thanks to the keto lifestyle. Our business has grown and been blessed tremendously. And I've reached a huge milestone.

All of this is a huge deal because I never expected any of it. Seriously.

I had dreams and goals to achieve, but my severe depression and bad financial decisions just seemed too difficult to overcome. Life was pretty messed up for a while and there were some really dark days. I honestly didn't even know if I'd live beyond 49. So being able to celebrate ALL of these accomplishments has been a tremendous feat.

The Dalmans and The Medovichs

It's my birthday and I'll cry if I want to.

The thought of turning 50 years old really scared me. Donetta kept telling me it's just a number, but to me it represented so much more.

Maybe it's due to my dad passing away at 51 from a heart attack or realizing the average male life expectancy is 79 years old, but as my birthday approached, I could feel a sadness welling up within my soul. Life has moved - and is moving - way too fast. As a person who has struggled with the idea of death, this was a big milestone in my fragile mind.

With my fear and sadness creeping in, celebrating my birthday had to take place somewhere special to ease the pain. Knowing I only have one shot at this the day had to be special.

Viva Las Vegas!

Celebrating my birthday in Las Vegas wasn't my first choice. The original plan was to party with family and friends in the Netherlands. Holland is very special to me for so many reasons and the friendships we've made there are priceless. But Covid 19 derailed those plans earlier this year.

See it as a blessing and not a curse.

- Garth Brooks

While we had to adapt and improvise, the final outcome was just as epic -- thanks to my client and his wife.

Brent and Michelle were the blessing.

I've known Brent for three years because I redesigned his entire website. During this time we became good friends and I even got to know his lovely wife Michelle. They knew we were traveling and invited us to come and stay with them.

But we had never met in person! Sure we had countless phone conversations but I had no clue what they looked like or whether they were some strange cult leaders. For all they knew we could've been mass murderers. Yet here we were on their doorsteps filled with excitement and anticipation.

Welcome to the Medovich Oasis!

Brent and Michelle are truly an amazing couple with hearts of gold. They canceled travel plans in order to host us last minute. They cooked many incredible and tasty meals for us. We were given plenty of free beers and margaritas and shown amazing hospitality. They never asked us for anything nor gave any expectations. WOW!

That wasn't even the best part: the four of us bonded in a way that doesn't happen very often in life. If forming an incredible and deeper friendship wasn't already enough, there were so many other blessings from our time together.

We spent time playing pool, talking about life and business, and had jam sessions with Brent on the drums (he's really good) and me on the guitar. And by some weird act of God I started to enjoy watching baseball, a sport I absolutely hate. Go Tribe!

Then there was Minnie.

Minnie is their rescue dog that brought me a happiness I hadn't experienced since Bandit died. She LOVES to play fetch as much as he did. This little bundle of energy and love provided much needed healing to my devastated heart.

My 50th birthday and the amazing gifts.

Brent and Michelle graciously hosted my birthday in Las Vegas, which brought together my family and theirs for a magical night of fun, laughs, sarcasm, trash talking and of course, delicious beers. The Medovich family is an eclectic group of passionate individuals with incredible personality. We all clicked and we absolutely love them!!! I'm so grateful for that night.

Yet the best gift was spending time with Kayla and Tyler.

They still might not realize how important this was, but having them in Vegas with us topped the list. My kids mean the world to me and being able to make some crazy new memories with them was priceless. We gambled, we partied, we laughed. The Las Vegas strip may have not been what it was years ago, but we still managed to have a damn good time. For that I'm truly thankful.

The Dalmans in Las Vegas for James 50th Birthday

A different perspective.

What's interesting is the deep sadness I expected and anticipated from turning 50 never came. I didn't crawl into the fetal position and cry. There were no freak outs to be had. I didn't dye my hair blonde or go purchase a corvette, yet. :)

I simply leaned in and smiled.

Life is pretty good right now and I haven't felt this alive in a long time. And feeling alive again is much better than feeling like death is ringing my doorbell.

My birthday in Las Vegas was memorable and uplifting in so many ways and I contribute that to my wife, my kids, and the Medovich family. They all helped me overcome a milestone I dreaded and turned it into a celebration I will never forget.

Every day on this planet is a blessing.

There are so many things that ARE good and we all deserve to enjoy them to the best of our ability ... and we should! Life IS very short and we can either sit and lament about it or we can lean in and embrace everything that's awesome about it. I've decided it's better to focus on the blessing and not the curse.

Thank you Brent, Michelle, Corey, Kalee, Katie, Zachary, Chloe, Minnie, and Cleo for everything. And thank you Donetta, Kayla and Tyler for always being there for me. I love you all for making my 50th birthday in Las Vegas a huge success.