Here’s a little honesty/transparency to start, which admittedly can be rare.
For the past six months or so, when people ask me about my birthday, I’ve been saying I’m turning 33. That’s absurd for anyone that has any context in or around math, because I was born on November 7, 1980 — 1:18am, if you’d like to be specific, which means I was about 90 minutes or so from November 6th — and thus I am turning 34. I was born three days after Reagan beat Carter. Depending on how you interpret history, that could mean I’m akin to a serial killer. Everything is context, you know?
33 seems like a cooler year in some ways because you can tell people it’s your “Jesus Year” or your “Larry Bird Year” (depending on context). It’s very hard to argue with Jesus and/or Larry Bird. Maybe the coolest thing you can say about 34 is “My Shaq Year” or “My Sweetness Year” (Walter Payton). That’s not akin to Jesus or Larry Legend, although….
Good. I don’t really believe in going into the day-to-day dynamics of a marriage on a blog, per se, but the basic deal is we get by, we fight, and we consider having kids. Take all that for what you will, and wait for the moment. Watch this video if you want to tear up for a second:
For those of you who are friends/contextual acquaintances with Oscar De Armas, that is him at 1:28.
I’ve written about jobs and work so many f’n times that it can feel like a broken record, but my current job is fine and good. Do I still have days where I feel like I could do more and contribute more ROI? Sure. But in a way, doesn’t everyone?
The 10-Year Thing
Was just realizing this a few minutes ago: I turned 24 on November 7, 2004 (logical) — five days after the 2004 election — in Houston. At that moment, I had a different significant other (now married, with child), a semi-different core of friends, and I hadn’t even worked at ESPN yet. 10 years is a long time, yes. When you actually think about how different your life is vs. 10 years prior, it can be a little weird.
Straight up and a day, I love my friends. I probably don’t tell them that enough, but I do adore them. I’m in a few different groups right now — one of my college friends, one of my wife’s college friends and their significant others, various via sports and beer-drinking, various via Miami and Georgetown, and more. Straight up, the most interesting thing about a person’s life is how they make and keep friends. That’s everything, in a way. I know it sounds trite as fuck, but I absolutely adore my friends, from Echelon A to Echelon Z.
Here’s the hard part, because that paragraph was maybe a bit too rosy for human consumption at any time of day: as you get older (and I’m not over here saying I’m fucking wise or anything, because that would be horribly untrue), you also start to realize that certain friends are only capable of so much. I had people as recently as my early 30s who I thought were really close friends of mine, and over time I realized, at best, they were high-level acquaintances (or perhaps drinking buddies). I try a lot of times to expect the most from people, but that can be a gigantic mess of an idea. This depresses me from time to time, sure. I’ve been a horrible friend and I know that — I’m definitely a selfish person more than I want to admit — but it’s hard when you realize a relationship has a ceiling. Most people talk about “the friend zone” in trying to hook up like that, and I’ve been there too. When you realize there’s a ceiling on anything — an idea, a career arc, a friendship — it can be deflating until you re-contextualize it. Right?
3 and 3
10 years ago, like I said above, I was a Teach for America corps member. I used to do a thing then called “3 and 3.” Basically, at the end of every day, I kept a journal/diary — which a lot of men are not all about, but I kind of adore — and I wrote down 3 positive things from the day and 3 negative things. My three positive would often be “… managed to teach half a lesson on social studies” and my three negative were often “…. busted out the ruler as a semi-discipline thing.” It’s not a a great record of my mid-20s, let’s be real. But I’ve been doing it recently with my own life as well, and I think it’s positive. If you can think of 3 good and 3 bad every day, then here’s the deal: you have 15 good and 15 bad things at the end of every work week, and ostensibly you can build from the former and improve on the latter. Life is all about improvement, right?
I still don’t 100 percent have this. Read about it here. Probably the biggest struggle/question of my day-to-day life at 34 is how I appear to others to be an extrovert, but in reality I’m absolutely terrified to approach people and start conversations. People terrify me, but if you asked 100 people who know me, they probably wouldn’t necessarily guess that. I don’t understand it at all either.
I turned 32 and 33 in Minnesota; I’ll turn 34 in Texas. Before 32, all my birthdays back to 24 were somewhere in the Northeast (NYC, Connecticut, etc.) I actually really like Texas. I like Fort Worth/Dallas (Do I have a lot of friends over 30? No.) It’s fun, for the most part — even if a lot of my core friends are somewhere else — and it’s better than worrying about having a job every day. 10 years later, and back in the same place … but generally happy.
Closer to 40 than 20, but closer to 30 than 40
I’ve thought about my life a lot of different ways in the past few years, and here’s my semi-general takeaway: it goes on. Some things are hard, some things are easy, and some things are undefinable. That’s life. I’m glad I have this blog, I’m glad I have my friends, I’m glad I have my wife, and I’m glad I’m going to keep growing and evolving.
And hey, not to sound trite — although it will — but if you’re a part of this journey, either as a reader of this blog or a friend of mine or whatever else, thank you. I couldn’t be doing this without you. So honestly, 100 times over, thank you.
34 … onward and upward.