To watch a sunrise is an amazing experience and I never ever tire of how I feel when I do.

Each New Years Eve brings a similar feeling. As the New Year approaches I always try to imagine it bringing warmth, light, happiness and the chance for growth. A New Year sunrise feels like nature’s way of smiling at me.

The wonderful thing about putting a smile on your face and sharing it is that most people will smile back and it has something of a healing effect; seeing people smile makes things better and lifts everyone; a good smile is wonderfully infectious.

In a while I’ll share how friends and Third Thursdays can make a year extra special.

How has your 2023 been?

From a business point of view mine/ours has been a good one, the second best year ever at Graham John.

However, as much as I strive for it, I have never yet had a ‘perfect year’.

Most of you will probably say something like me; 2023 was a year where I lost friends, had colleagues and family ill and faced many challenges in business. Around the world terrible things have happened to add to the challenge of living life; we have witnessed such sorrow from afar.

At the core of Graham John I placed a message ‘Make Life Special’.

My wife and I will be celebrating our twenty fifth wedding anniversary in 2024, thirty five years together, and we had planned to have our anniversary on Hawaii in beautiful Lahaina. The beautiful Lahaina that exists no more, razed to the ground by wildfires; too many lives lost and devastated with it.

The Sun rises and with it people put a smile on.

It always amazes me how people rebound, how they rebuild and carry on, how communities come together, Ohana, family and friends gather around and life continues, altered but strong. In Lahaina’s case recovery will be slow and long (at the time of writing this residents have finally been allowed to visit the site of their homes if they attain a day pass) but I’m sure it will rise and be beautiful again. We still intend to visit Maui, to support the people there, the economy if even in a small and respectful way.

I love to face the sunrise, to see the colour creep into the world, feel its warmth upon my face, to watch it banish darkness and brighten everything. I enjoy looking forward to imagining the wonderful things that will come, the things that can be done and will be done. I enjoy picturing how it will feel to spend time with friends, with family, to travel, to meet new clients and I am grateful for the fact that I can watch that sunrise still, that I can experience it in all its glory and the gift it confirms is one that I mustn’t squander.

What would you love to do this year?

I have ideas for this year, ideas to Make Life Special. A list of places I want my wife and I to visit, restaurants I want to enjoy eating in, pubs to walk to and friends and family I will see.

All of this goes into a plan for the year, a plan that I will commit my very best to following so that next New Years Eve I can once more look back and see bright shining moments of joy, memories of things done, of hugs and kisses, back slaps and laughter shared.

If you took up my challenge in January 2023 you will have done this and I hope it added joy to your year, made memories that were unique, of the moment.

How Friends and Third Thursdays changed my year:

I have a group of close friends, we’ve known each other since 1987, and we have always kept in touch. Each year we meet for a Christmas meal and a catch up. Each year I say, ‘I can’t believe it has been a year already, we should catch up more often’.

Year after year I say the same thing till, in 2022, I said, ‘I’m going to create a ‘Third Thursday Club’.

Third Thursday Club has Rules.

Each month I nominate a venue, it may be an old haunt or somewhere mentioned as a ‘I’d like to go to’ by anyone in the group.

The rules are as follows:

Third Thursday Club. Each month in 2023 a pub will be designated. Attendance 8pm to 9pm. If you go you must stay till 9pm. You can arrive earlier, you can stay later. No ‘are you going messages’. You can post ‘pub is closed’ or relevant update. Either be there or don’t, it’s no problem. It’s for a drink and chat. Food optional and up to you. Try and imagine a world before phones. Be prepared for company, be prepared for a quiet night, feel free to bring friends if you wish.

On a great night most group members turn up and if just my wife and I are there then we’ve had a nice evening out that we wouldn’t otherwise have had. There are friends I have seen more in 2023 than in the previous ten years combined all thanks to ‘Third Thursday Club’ and it will continue in 2024.

It doesn’t have to be a Third Thursday, it doesn’t have to be each month; it is worth doing something.

It’s exciting to look ahead so, once again, I challenge you to make a list of things you will do this year, things for you, for loved ones, for friends, colleagues, (perhaps create your version of ‘Third Thursday Club’), things that will Make Life Special. List them out month by month even week by week. Set yourself a goal of doing at least one thing a month and push yourself to do it.

Don’t just live life: Make Life Special in 2024!

If 2024 is the year you are thinking of moving home can we ask you to do two things please.

  1. Read ‘Selling your home: The Ten Essential Steps to Success
  2. Let us know your plans so we can chat with you and share our advice, we love to help.


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