Roman Malanke

24th Birthday Speech

Today I’m turning 24 and I’m having the most peculiar birthday program ever. In the morning I was swimming in luxury pool in Las Vegas and now I am sitting in Los Angeles international airport waiting for Munich flight on my way back home.

The age of 23-26 is named by many psychologists as “the quarter life crisis period”. In this period people usually try to find their own selves and understand the purpose of life for the years to come. I think psychologists have a point giving such a strong definition. But crisis doesn’t necessarily have to be long, does it?

It will be difficult to describe how many inner changes and broken stereotypes I’ve undergone during the last year of my life. Looking back I am tempted to think that the most important role in that process played a series of lucky incidents. All the people I’ve been meeting, all the books I’ve been reading, all the events I’ve been attending couldn’t be more in the right place and in the right time. It’s incredible how what seemed spontaneous events can actually appear as well-planned self-development campaign over the time.

I think in many senses my eyes opened more widely in observing both the external world around me and my smaller personal world. The way I felt a year ago is nothing compared to how I feel now.

Here I would like to give my thanks to everyone who was helping me during the first 24 years of my life.

I want to thank my parents for their care and that solid foundation that they have laid for my education and future growth. I want to thank personally my father who since my early childhood respected my opinion and treated me like equal. Especially for trusting me to drive grandpa’s car when I was so short that could only observe the road ahead under the steering wheel. :-)

I want to thank my ex-girlfriend Ann for her insights on relationships between girls and boys, great experience she gave me, for strengthening my character, for leading me to try snowboarding, and, of course, for all the good times we’ve had together.

I want to thank Kate, my most special female friend who graciously let me live in her cozy and incredibly inspiring apartment for such a long time, who revealed to me the beauty of vegetarian way of life and acquainted me with yoga, artistic movies, Pedro Almodóvar, Woody Allen, Latina dances, soul and lounge music, and quite a few other valuable things.

I want to thank all of my friends, school and university mates, coworkers and partners for their time spent on talking to me and having fun together.

Particular thanks go to Vitalik Kopylov, for being the best friend and partner for pleasant intellectual talks; Vic Molokanov, for teaching me how to play guitar and the theory of two instincts that rule the world; Nick Martyniuk, for being reliable friend and roommate during happy university years; Laslo Bovgar, for radically critical view on the world, for playing bass in our band, and for lending me money a countless number of times; Rus Romanenko, for showing me that it is possible to start creative business in Ukraine from scratch; Olenka Galushko, for the best hair styles ever and for that head-massage thing; Anton Kulhevskyi — for his continuous nagging about my fears and for acquainting me to swimming; Andy Gnatiuk — for being my dearest swimming partner.

I am happy to know everyone of you. Happy Birthday, dear me. Cheers!