Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.
– Dr. Seuss
Thirty years and a day ago, I wasn’t.
Then, the next day, I was.
For the last couple months, my sister Rachel has been teasing me about this birthday.
“You know,” she’s said with that tone where the “o” in “know” lasts a bit longer, “you are going to be old soon.”
She’s teasing, trying to elicit a defensive, fear-of-death response.
“I know,” I reply, “I can’t wait.”
I’m not exactly rushing toward death, but certainly rushing toward whatever’s next.
Truth be told, I’ve put quite a bit into those 30 years.
- been born.
- learned to walk and talk.
- had stitches a bunch of times.
- built many forts and clubhouses.
- had four dogs.
- fallen in love.
- become a vegetarian.
- lived in four states.
- gotten a college degree.
- run 8 marathons.
- become a big brother three times over.
- started my master’s degree – three times over.
- taught over 1,000 kids.
- seen the divorces and marriages of my parents.
- served as editor in chief of a newspaper.
- rafted down the Colorado River.
- officiated three weddings of friends.
- seen the sun rise over the Atlantic Ocean.
- watched the sun set over the Pacific Ocean.
- run along the coast of the Indian Ocean.
- visited Kenya.
- visited South Africa (twice).
- co-authored and edited a book.
- lost my bookbag to a baboon.
- recovered my bookbag from a baboon.
- died my hair blue, green, read, orange, purple, and blond.
- smoked a few cigars.
- learned how to cook.
- performed improv.
- told my family and friends I love them (but probably not enough).
- been diagnosed with and recovered from osteomyelitis.
- developed an allergy to cats.
- visited 40 of the states in the Union.
- transitioned from being a PC to being a Mac.
- accidentally shot a bluejay with a BB gun.
- watched every episode of The West Wing and Arrested Development like it was my job.
- caught snowflakes on my tongue.
- changed the world by doing way more than saving a single starfish.
- mourned the death of Johnny Cash.
- collected hats.
- collected pins.
- sounded my barbaric Yawp.
- been a member of a live studio audience.
- gambled in a casino.
- decided casinos make me sad.
- played with a wood burning kit.
- left a thawing Cornish game hen in a sculpture shaped like a hand (four times).
- learned to crochet.
And those are just the things I can remember off the top of my head.
I can’t wait for the next 30 years.