#17 - Last one on the list

"Today marks the day where I am the oldest of you. I guess it's my last party," I started, trying to remember the speech I had prepared, "What feels like only a few years ago, I was up here giving a speech about my future, about my goals, about my respect for the future and the past.

"I used to look over at the table over there," I pointed at one of the closest tables to the small stage where the band played throughout the evening, "And think to myself, 'those old guys, I can't wait to join them and talk about the old times'. And then look to the right table over there to catch up with my buddies, go through some ideas that I had about my work or my company, or whatever hobby I had at the time.

"But today, today, I get to give my last speech. I don't know when it'll hit but I do know that I won't be attending next year's party.

"I had a good life, and being able to have all of you as my companions was even better. I honestly don't know anyone that can talk to the future and past, and to change things so accurately."

I turned to one of my younger selves, "And we've gambled, haven't we?"

A group laughed of twenty-somethings laughed.

"But we've all learned that we can't change things too much. I'm number 86 and every year we've checked, there were only 86 of us. Whatever else happened, this number never changed.

"Despite that, I'd still like to pass on some wisdom to you."

The room quieted down, "It is a great privilege to have yourself as your best friend, a great privilege to talk to the past in order to resolve problems that you've dragged with you, a great privilege to talk to your future to help you make better decisions and thus help out everyone in this room and beyond.

"In my past 86 years, having met and talked to each one of you 86 times, I've learned that the best life is one where you can trust yourself, shoot for your own happiness, and allow everyone around you to enjoy it with you.

"Thank you very much."

Applause followed, and I walked off the stage for the last time.