Turning 33

Today is my 33rd birthday.

It’s a palindromic year (same number forwards or backwards), and I dare say that it will be the best of my palindromic years. 11 was okay, but my adulthood has been far more fun than my childhood. 22 wasn’t bad, but I spent much of my early twenties being a workaholic and missing out on the stupid things I should have been doing. But 33…ah that’s a different story. This is the best of all. Better than 22, and better than 44 (probably…we’ll see).

Last year there was a dubious study by some website that said that 33 is the happiest age. At the moment I’d be inclined to agree with its findings. In the past few years I have:

  • finished 3 novels (two of them currently published, another soon)
  • traveled to Europe and Asia multiple times
  • worked on some really cool technology projects
  • loved, and lost, and loved again
  • gotten into the best physical shape of my life
  • worked mostly from home
  • written hundreds of articles and been quoted in countless Wikipedia pages
  • acquired a large group of amazing friends who seem to like me for some reason

I think it’s safe to say I’m hitting my stride.

Still, there is the unavoidable feeling of age creeping up on me. Injuries don’t heal as fast. My right knee feels a little tight sometimes. Half my brother’s children are adults. My Facebook news feed frequently has announcements of babies being born to friends I knew in my teens. I think of past events that seem fresh and recent, only to realize that they happened a decade ago.

Overall, I’m happy…supremely happy. And I’m still “young” compared to half the people I know, and I know those very same people would laugh at this post and say I’ve got a whole lot of aging to come still. But I also cannot ignore the fact that a good portion of the people I know consider me “older”. That’s just two letters from “old”, folks.

Do I fear aging? Naw, not at all. It’s just another adventure in the journey of life (and I think I’m aging rather gracefully, all things considered). But I do find myself keenly aware that things are getting different. It feels like there’s an inflection point coming up; a point of no return…a transition where youth is just a memory. It’s not scary; it’s just so different. I have always been young. I know nothing else. But there will come a point when I no longer will be, and until now that was just an abstract concept to me. It’s slowly becoming a reality, and I’m observing this transition with a sharp awareness. It makes for good writing material.

I’m going to spend my birthday weekend being silly and doing more ridiculous things I never got to do at 22. And I will revel in all the benefits that maturity, stability, and wisdom have brought me. And when the hangovers are gone and the last “Happy Birthday!” wishes have been shouted with glee, I’ll return to my normal, wonderful life and continue to make the most of every day of youth I still have left.

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