I find it hard to believe that today marks my thirty-fourth birthday, it just doesnít seem possible. Trust me, I felt the same way four years ago when I hit that dreaded 30 mark, which really doesnít seem so bad in hindsight. Where in creation did those four years go? Talk about time flying by.
Whatís truly surprising, however, are the countless technological and social changes which have taken place during my three-plus decades here on planet Earth, from the obvious Ė cell phones, laptops, global positioning systems (a good friend has one which mimics Yoda) and digital, well, everything Ė to the absolutely ridiculous Ė Justin Bieber fans, Sarah Palin for president and retail stores stocking the shelves for Christmas in September all spring immediately to mind.
Even more comical are the numerous fads and fashions which, somehow, make a resurgence every 20 to 30 years. I mean, bellbottoms, lava lamps and a good old tie-dye T-shirt are all OK with me, at least they were when I attended Ithaca College 16 years ago. Then again, whoever thought it was a good idea to bring back this skinny-jean obsession (not to mention those fluffy moon-boot looking deals the girls all seem to like) should be dragged into the street and shot. Do the people sporting these atrocities have any idea how laughable they really look? Youíd sooner see me running down South Broad Street in a fluorescent yellow jumpsuit waving a big sign that read ďHere For the Free Homefries,Ē another fad I havenít enjoyed since my college days, than catch me trying to squeeze my 34-year-old behind in a pair of those skinny jeans.
I suppose thereís simply no getting around it, Iím getting older. And while I realize this not-so-minor inconvenience catches up with all of us in the end, I guess I never realized it would catch up to me so damn soon. I certainly never thought Iíd be sitting here, writing a column for our hometown daily newspaper and living the single life in my tiny little apartment. Iím not complaining though Ė even as the surprises life continues to throw at me pile up Ė Iíve actually got it pretty good.
Iíve got my friends, family, co-workers and esteemed editor to keep me grounded, something I avoided for far too long. Iíve got my health (knock on wood), a great job and a number of musical companions who keep me on my toes whenever I get a chance to strap on the old guitar. I even have that fluorescent yellow jumpsuit kicking around somewhere if the mood were to strike me (and yes, Iím kidding ... or am I?).
Thatís not to say there arenít things Iíd like to see happen before I get any closer to 40, letís be honest. A family of my own (someday) would be nice (I think). I know that would make my poor mother happy, at least. What can I say, she lovingly threatens me over her lack of grandchildren on a fairly regular basis.
On a lighter note, Iíd really love to try skydiving someday (that jumpsuit would come in handy then, now wouldnít it?), write a book, add to my guitar collection (or lack thereof) and buy an honest-to-God new car (just for that new-car smell). The funny thing is, none of those desires seem nearly as impossible to me as they once did, which I find interesting.
I guess itís true that age really does bring wisdom, or at least some semblance of it. I can remember a time, not so long ago, when I honestly wondered if I would make it to 32, as sad as that is. So yes, Iíd definitely say that wisdom does come with age, as does change. We canít predict it, or really prepare for it when it catches up to us, we can only roll with the punches and do our best to see it through.
Iím fairly confident that life hasnít finished throwing the occasional curve ball my way and I donít think Iíd like it to. Those surprises, that uncertainty (and coping with it), are what life is all about. Iím not sure why it took me 34 years to realize that and maybe itís something I knew all along Ė I simply never understood it or admitted it to myself. But there you have it and here I am, thirty-four and counting.
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