Friday, July 15, 2011

An Older & Wiser & 30-Year-Old Me

Me, six months old, with just as big a mouth

The best advice I got from my high school algebra teacher had nothing to do with math.

I can't remember Mr. Mack's exact words, but I remember the gist very well. Don't continue to yearn for the future, he said. It will come soon enough. Stay in the present.

He must have told our class that something like 15 years ago, and rarely a month goes by when I don't remind myself of the sentiment. Especially this month. Especially this day, my 30th birthday.

They were hard words to obey 15 years ago. I was one of the youngest in my class and couldn't wait to catch up with my very own driver's license and, later, a proper ID to show the bartender.

It's still hard to obey, when I have vacations, trips home, nights out with friends and backyard barbecues to look forward to. I'm sure I'm not alone when I say that those are the types of things that get me through the rough patches, whether it's small irritations or bigger problems.

But as I've looked toward my 30th birthday, all I've wanted to do was stay in the present. I know you can't turn back the clock, and I wouldn't want to anyway. Nevertheless, this birthday is a milestone, and not one I particularly wanted to reach. Who does? I was lamenting the approach of this birthday even two years ago.

I certainly wouldn't say I'm depressed. I wouldn't even say I'm old -- the older I get, the further I push back my definition of old. "Old" doesn't come until you're at least 90, I say.

But there's no doubt I am getting older. With that, I hope I'm getting wiser, although I often have my doubts. But maybe that doubt is the first sign that I'm getting wiser after all. Fingers crossed.

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