Happy birthday ... oh, wait!

When I start out writing about something cool and then realize—oh wait, this is what made me think of it. Also, 7 other things worth your time.

Today is one of the days when I didn’t really figure out why I was drawn to write about something until the very end. So read on to the bottom. :)

First off: Tomorrow marks the 246th anniversary of the founding of the U.S. Marine Corps.

This is also the 100th anniversary of the time that the Commandant of the Marine Corps ordered every Marine Corps unit in the world “[to] commemorate the birthday of our corps by calling to mind the glories of its long and illustrious history.”

With each year that passed afterward, the Marine Corps Birthday became a bigger deal for Marines, with more and more traditions attached.

Also, I love that they call it the “birthday,” and not the “anniversary.”

If you ever get a chance to go to one of these celebrations, I recommend it, even if you have nothing at all to do with the Marine Corps.

In fact, this week, I’m attending an event that happens to have been organized by a retired Marine officer, so sure enough, we’ll be celebrating the birthday. Among the traditions:

  • There’s a cake. The oldest Marine present gets the first piece but then passes it to the youngest Marine.

  • They read Maj. Gen. John Lejeune’s original order from 1921 about the Marine Corps Birthday.

  • People party. At least one private or lance corporal or maybe someone’s date (or uninvited guest) gets a DUI on the way home.

I’m kidding about the DUI … but also not really, right?

Anyway, say what you will about the Marines, this is an organization that knows how to celebrate its wins.

Being good enough to survive nearly a quarter of a millennium (with the Army and the Navy not-so-subtly suggesting for most of that time that they’d really like to absorb you into their forces) is one such win.

But also, it’s just really good leadership. It’s right there in yesterday’s newsletter, in fact:

Behavior #5. Celebrate wins.

Nobody wants to be on a team where the only reward for good work is more work. Celebrate wins, and mark milestones, big and small.

And that’s why I say you should always—

Wait a second. I just realized I don’t practice what I preach. Not at all.

Because I just let a really big milestone go by here on Understandably without mentioning it to anyone. Two milestones actually:

  • On November 1, we marked the 2-year anniversary of Understandably.com.

  • Right around the same time (it’s hard to count), we also published the 500th daily edition of this newsletter.

Two years! Five hundred editions! It’s all grown by leaps and bounds since its humble beginnings back in 2019, too. As I write this, there are well over 100,000 people signed up to receive it every day.

I’m grateful for all of you—especially those of you who’ve been here a long time and offered me encouragement, and of course—especially, especially, especially grateful to everyone who has become a paid supporter.

Truly, without you, I would not be able to do this.

I’m also grateful for the people I’ve met through this: Kate, whom many of you know (she’s still on medical leave but doing better every day), and Thomas, whom I’ll introduce soon—and for so many readers, many of whom I wind up talking with quite often.

Woo-hoo! Congratulations to all of us!

I’ll tell you: Some days this is easy, and a joy to write. Other days, it’s harder. But, it’s always a labor of love, and something I’m proud to do.

So happy birthday Marines. And thanks for making me think of the fact that I passed our own birthday here without even realizing it.

Do me a favor: Raise a glass wherever you are, to Understandably. Let’s celebrate this milestone.

And, of course, maybe think about becoming a paid supporter if you aren’t one already? That’s really the engine that keeps this all going.)

Call for comments: Marines, feel free to correct my details about the Marine Corps Birthday. Everyone else, tell us about a time when you celebrated a big win (or a small one) that stuck with you. And thanks as always for being here and supporting Understandably.

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Thanks for reading, as always. Photo credit: U.S. Government work. Want to see all my mistakes? Click here.