36 reasons it’s good to be alive

When you get to a certain age there is something terrible that starts happening to you. And it happens over and over again. It’s called “a birthday”.

Of course turning 36 isn’t the end of the world—it’s just a giant step towards it.

So, I’m turning 36 today, and as the years methodically pump by I find that its increasingly easier to find fault with life, people, things — everything. And I know that 36 isn’t “old”, but its the oldest I’ve ever been.

To prove I’m not a complete curmudgeon, here’s 36 reasons it’s good (to me) to be alive.

  1. Parents. Obviously without them I’d not be turning 36. My parents are fantastic, amazing people — they support my crazy, hair-brained ideas, quirky creativity (if you can call it that) and love me (and my family) unconditionally. However they seem to have forgotten my bank account number.
  2. My brother. My brother is awesome. Growing up we were friends. Though our interests didn’t always mesh, I still somewhat seek his approval (ssh … don’t tell him — oh wait, he can read this). I respect him immensely — he’s funny, fun loving, creative and intelligent. And we share our birthday. Bang.
  3. My Friends. All of you, out there, buzzing around. I love each of you. My friends keep me from imploding. Those far away or those extremely close. The keep me motivated (and sometimes in control). Spur my creativity, ideas, love and compassion.

Ok … the gushy stuff is out of the way…

  1. My helmet. Having been reluctant in using it on my daily moto rides through town, it as until a close friend of mine looked me in the eyes and asked me if I please would wear my helmet. Always. Please.
  2. My house cats Piri Piri and Twinkle. Life wouldn’t be the same without these furry attention screamers.
  3. Writing — becoming way and way more serious and extremely fun. I’ll be doing way much more of that in the coming year: essays, articles and book stuff.
  4. Cambodia – it’s given me so much pleasure of really living and thriving and I know there is more to come!
  5. Microwave popcorn
  6. Coffee — nothing makes a morning alive like warm, fresh roasted coffee, finely ground — aroma fluttering throughout the house.
  7. Photography. Dôh!
  8. Comedians without whom I’d find little humor in life; Dane Cook, Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, Sarah Silverman, Jim Gaffigan, Eddie Murphy and Ricky Gervais.
  9. Massages. Love getting them as much as giving them. Addicted, yes.
  10. Music. I honestly have no idea how I’d live without music; it fills me with joy, sadness, contemplation — literally scores my life.
  11. Popping bubble wrap
  12. Movies — not nearly as pervasive as music, but films help me escape but also explore my life and my place in the world and takes me away from daily tasks. More people should watch more movies!
  13. A truly great slice of pizza
  14. A cold Pepsi when the weather is humid and the street cleaners outside are the only sound in the air
  15. Michael Jackson. Nothing to ad.
  16. Homeland. Best tv series (hours of enjoyment). Go, watch it now.
  17. The butterflies right before the plunge down a new adventure. Life is a roller coaster.
  18. The inter-webs — great resources, information, communication and distractions; I’m not sure I’m better for it, but there’s no going back
  19. Flying. In air planes yes. The whole woosh from buying a ticket, packing, arriving at an airport, the check-in, the waiting, the boarding, the take off, the views, and the refreshments on board. It’s like somebody created a mini heaven (maybe only for me, but I am weird). Flights clear my head. A lot!
  20. Nudism. I am one of those weird people. For Buddha’s sake folks: it’s just too hot here!
  21. Dutch cheese. Hard to get in Cambodia, even if the label says it’s Gouda, it should not be produced in Vietnam.
  22. The morning papers. I just can’t wake up without them. Sundays always have a bad start and I mostly end up downloading a foreign Sunday paper on my tablet.
  23. Donuts.
  24. Work. I love what I do (about 96% of the time) and for these 8 hours per week. I know there are many people who can’t say the same thing, and I feel fortunate for that.
  25. The Phnom Penh skyline
  26. Guinness beer
  27. Weekend bike rides along the Mekong. What else can you do on an early Sunday morning, folks?
  28. Fresh fruits. Living in the tropics makes me happy. It’s a short distance to the local market. And I just love the juices. And my blender. I considered giving my blender a special number.
  29. The Simpsons. (This is a big secret)
  30. Facebook. It’s just a fascination we can connect with each other that easily. Remember the days before the mobile phone? I do. Always searching for stamps and waiting for replies. Now you are a poke away. (Now stop poking me!)
  31. Beaches. No matter if they are the ones in Cambodia, on Thai islands or at the coast of Europe. Views from them have always made me dream.
  32. That One Lady That I Haven’t Met Yet. A good reason to be alive, I think, as a single man.
  33. Growing older every year. Because age is something we all earn, right?


  1. Ginger Kern December 20, 2012 at 6:52 am

    Aww, I actually know you better than I thought, these are classic Ramon things!

  2. Frank Yetter December 20, 2012 at 6:52 am

    Did you actually write “early Sunday morning” for a bike ride along the Mekong? Or did someone ghost write that blog post?

  3. Ken December 24, 2012 at 5:17 am

    Have to agree with most of those Ramon……..now where do I buy a good blender from?


    1. ramonstoppelenburg - Site Author December 24, 2012 at 8:00 am

      Ken, head out to K-four, located on the third floor of Sorya Shopping Center in Phnom Penh.

  4. Anthony January 11, 2014 at 5:42 pm

    I totally agree with #16, but I disagree with #19. Watch Breaking Bad… will change your life!


Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *