I turn thirty-nine on Friday. It’s amazing I’ve made it this far with most of my sanity still intact. I look back on thirty-nine years and my first desire is to think of all the things I didn’t do, decisions I didn’t make, and to lament the mistakes I made. Yes, I will admit that I’m a ‘glass is half empty’ sort of guy but I think to a certain extent this is something that a lot of people do. I have this sense that I have one year to fix all of the rights and to take care of those things I didn’t get done. It’s as if I’ve been given a terminal diagnosis by the local hack of a doctor. Yet, I take pause, thirty-nine isn’t really all that old, is it?
Growing up, forty seemed to be so old and now even sixty doesn’t seem that old. Just the other day the famed Davey Jones passed away at the age of sixty-six and I read a lot of posts and tweets that sixty-six was too young to die. Really? It seems pretty old. That must make, at thirty-nine, an infant right? My Mom always said I didn’t really become human again(I think she saw me as some kind of vomit spewing alien from the age of sixteen to my early twenties) until I turned twenty-five. Does this mean at thirty-nine I’m finally starting to mature and grow into my own skin? If I’m just now maturing into the adult I was raised to be then why can’t I be a fire-fighter anymore, a policeman, a soldier? It’s true I wouldn’t want to be any of these but, come on man, to be denied based on my age!? Its age discrimination I tell you!
So what mistakes did I make that I regret? Let’s just say they’re too numerous and depressing to dwell on. Instead, I think, we’ll acknowledge that I made them and move on. As my birthday sweeps over me and the joy of massive amounts of attention and birthday wishes from all (come on who doesn’t love all the attention?) escalates to near euphoric proportions I’d like to look at everything I have because you never know when it’ll all be yanked away from you. I read today about a conservative activist who died at the age of forty-three. Forty-three! That’s really young guys, I’m not ready to go at forty-three. Nope, no way, no how. The report was that he died of natural causes. Folks, no matter what you die of…forty-three is just too young to go. I have more years behind me than I probably, realistically, have in front of me. At the very least I’m about as half-way to the great unknown as I’m going to get. I think dwelling on the negative aspects of my past is about as useful as….wings on a pig.
Instead, I’m choosing to spend my one and only thirty-ninth birthday dwelling on the good things in my life. The happy moments of my past and the exciting world we live in. Think about it for a second. For all you late thirty something folks reading this and passing the years in my company remember when we still bought vinyl? I can remember like it was yesterday the first CD player I experienced. My girlfriend at the time had gotten it. (I think it was her parents but I can’t remember) We listened to Oingo Boingo on it like there was no tomorrow. Twenty one or so years later and CD’s have pretty much gone the way of the eight-track. I know I haven’t bought one in years. Remember when we used to send notes to each other in class….yeah me neither….okay I’ll admit it I do in fact remember those days. (Though with all my heart I try not to…*shudders*) We wrote everything from love notes to questions about what we were doing after class. It’s sad that the current generation will never learn how to fold them into that little origami shape that kept them closed. And now I’ve descended into the realm of;
“Back in the day sonny I remember we used to play video games from cassette players,” in my best old persons voice, “Our phones took up whole rooms!”
So I’m going to make a choice! I’ll look at the good and the happy. My ‘smart pill’ encounter on my first Boy Scout camp out. The three weeks I spent with my brother and my parents driving from Vista to New York City and back in our blue Isuzu Trooper and tent trailer. My wedding day. The day my girls were born. The day my son was born. I’ll think of the growing I’ve done and the fact that through thick and thin I’ve been with the same woman for twenty years and I love her more now than I did back in the day. I’ll be happy with my job (for the most part) and count my lucky stars that not only am I working but that I managed to fall into career that almost suits me. I’ll dwell on the hobbies I’ve chosen to participate in and the friends I’ve made over the years. These are the things to dwell on as I hit thirty-nine and teeter on the cusp of forty. It’s been quite a ride but in all reality I’m just getting to that highest point of the roller-coaster, that first hill before you descend into the stomach turning twists and loops. It’s all thrilling and downhill after this. It’ll go fast and be over before I know it so I’m determined to dwell on the good bits, discard the bad and get on with it. So join me won’t you; throw your hands in the air and let’s scream all the way to the end….here it comes….and away we go!!