It was a running joke with my friends. I was the one who did not drink, yet I owned a vineyard. It had been a birthday present to myself. Birthdays had always been a funny time for me. People would ask what they should get me, but I felt like I never knew what I wanted. As I approached the four-decade mark, the truth dawned on me. I realised that I knew exactly what I wanted: I wanted the type of things that I couldn’t ask my friends for, the type of gifts I could only get myself.
When I signed the paperwork and the land was mine, I felt giddy. Waves of happiness rolled over me like the rolling grape-laden hills on the land that I now owned. I kept most of the staff that had worked on the land before I bought it. The vineyard made pretty much the same products that it did before I owned it, with the edition of a non-alcoholic wine.
Apart from the single addition to the product line and a few efficiency improvements, I was pretty much hands-off from the day-to-day work of the vineyard. I was well aware that my skills and talents lay elsewhere. But it was mine. The soil, the vines, the grapes, everything under the blue sky, kissed by the golden sun, belonged to me. Every year, on my birthday, I would return to my land, to stroll through my vines, walk over my hills, and delight in my gift to me.