Today is the day I turn 30. This event means little in the grand scheme of things, but has provided me with opportunity to reflect and ruminate on my state of existence, and given my penchant for altiloquent, bloviated writing, I’ll go ahead and write about it, pretending that you, dear reader, care enough to read it.
What is senescence? Why do we feel it as we do? Why is so much weight put on the years ending in zeros? Perhaps it is due to the profound inner cinema reel that flashes when we think in multiples of ten and how much more it means as we age.
Twenty years ago, I was 10, a snotty, hyper, precocious little shit who read encyclopedias and Star Trek/Star Wars novels for fun. Carl Sagan and Mary Lou Retton were my heros, I dreamt of stars and astronomy, and I applied for Space Camp. Summers were agonizingly long and i made a calendar by the apricots ripening and falling over the rear wall of my grandmother’s house. Answers to questions only yielded more questions. My little sister was annoying. In the previous ten years, I had learned to stop shitting my pants, how to speak/write/read, and the power of the question “Why?”
Ten years ago, I was 20, having recently failed a business venture and dropped out of college. My spirit was crushed and I felt worthless, barely able to work at a soulless call center and play Final Fantasy XI obsessively. I had stupid facial hair and no heroes. Summers were agonizingly long only because I wasn’t experiencing them the same way anymore, though i did still snack on the occasional felled apricot at my grandmother’s house. Our country was at war and it felt vaguely fake, surreal, and abstract. My little sister was annoying, this time due to her social grace and ease of relationships. In the previous ten years, I had learned the fear of mortality, how to loathe myself, the works of Kafka, Nietzsche, Hugo, Plato, and Socrates, and added a certain cynical desperation to the question “Why?”
Today, I am 30, having recently won a weightlifting competition, been accepted to graduate school, and signed a lease on a place with my brilliant, beautiful, and lovely girlfriend. My spirit has risen as a phoenix from the ashes of my ten-year-ago self. I have less stupid facial hair and I am inspired by too many people to list. Summers are now agonizingly short as the experience of time pulls me seemingly faster into the future’s past, my grandmother has moved on, and the apricot tree is barren. Our country is split and it feels more fake and surreal, though seeds of change have been planted. In the previous ten years, I had learned to love mortality, how to endure the labours of love, how to live with stability and change, and have added a playful, pragmatic note to the question “Why?”
Last year, I wrote a similar thing regarding the day of my birth and it seems like a bit of a waste of space to address it here, but this is my post and i do not particularly care.
I still agree with everything on there and would only nix out the following:
A lack of a true sense of purpose. I’ve been at a multi-dimensional crossroads for the last year or so and am still befuddled as to where I should go. Academia? Industry? Off the grid?
This last year was a vigorous look into myself, a year stuffed with personal growth and edification. I will be starting my MS in Computer Science, a field whose idiosyncrasies have befuddled, amused, and elicited my best efforts over the years, this fall.
Things are good.