Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Two months and counting

Good evening.

I was just sitting here, and a thought popped into my head. Yes, I know. It happens every once in a while. I am now less than 2 months away from 30.

I know what you're thinking. "Oh no! Here he goes on another nostalgia story again!"

But no. Actually, I was thinking about a professor way back when I was a freshman in college. He put the question to all of us. "Where do you want to be when you're 30 years old."

30? No way! That's old. Here I was, an immortal, cocky, yet shy 18 year old fresh up from his screwed up summer tourist home town. I was eating at the roach coaches that attracted the Rutgers crowd of hungover beer guzzlers. If I think really hard, I can taste the fat and the potatoes and the positively lousy ranch dressing. But it's what we ate -- Brian, Gordon, Nick, Don, Luke and of course Jeff. We were immortal. We'd beat off the grim reaper (beat off as in scare away), and then chase the culinary suicide with cigarettes and ice cream in preparation for another night of beer drinking. What the hell was I thinking? What the hell were WE thinking?

It seemed that 30 was so far over the horizon back then. After all, it was almost half a lifetime away. I was 18; 30 was 12 years away. OK. 2/3 of a lifetime away.

The only consequences of what we did, that I could foresee, was a hangover, and maybe a good case of gas -- or diarrhea. We didn't stop to think about what we would actually be like at 30.

But going back to the original question. Where DID I want to be when I turned 30? Maybe I couldn't see beyond my next exam. Maybe I couldn't see beyond the next weekend beer bash. Maybe I couldn't see beyond the summer. Either way, the very concept of 30 was as distant and foreign to me as Depends, walkers, bifocals, stress incontinence and uncontrollable flatulence. OK, so 4 out of 5 ain't bad!

Frankly, or maybe strangely, I envision my 30th birthday to be a lot like my 21st. I don't think I'll be conned into believing the story of the ancient bottle of Grand Marnier again. But when I was 18 I thought I'd be writing for a newspaper, or maybe an on-air newscaster by the time I was 30. I never thought of teaching back when I was a freshman. The career of educator came to me, and I decided to grasp it with both hands.

One of the assignments I was given back in elementary school was to write down how I envisioned the year 2000. Since 2000 was probably about 6 or 7 years away, it was fun to fantasize. But I didn't consider my life at 30 as fantasy. Damn! Where DID I want to be at 30.

I somehow felt as though I was driving on a dark road without headlights. I didn't know where I was going. I was gong to let the road take me there. I didn't have a game plan. I didn't have a plan for turning 30. Hell, I hadn't even turned 21 at that point. I had just turned 18!

But does anybody have a plan for turning 30? Sure, it's just a number. It's not a significant one like 65. You get Medicare at 65. You can get Social Security at 62. You can join AARP at...............wait................I might be getting offers already!

Perhaps the best response I could have given was that I wanted to enjoy where I was at 30, and maybe in looking back FROM 30, I could see that I made the right decisions, and that the road to retirement now looks a lot brighter than the road to 30 seemed back in college.

I looked forward to turning 18. I looked forward to turning 21. And now, I'll look forward to my 10th anniversary high school reunion with pride. Gee. I remember a blog entry from several years ago, where I mentioned some of the bullies who called me "retarded". But this wasn't going to be a walk down memory lane.

30 is fast approaching, and it seems to be coming faster each and every day.

Bring it on!

Have a great evening!

1 comment:

  1. "Bring it on!" I think your attitude is the right one. Of course, I was one of those who was a failure at "What do you plan to do when you reach....", because I had some kind of a revulsion to limiting myself to ANYTHING. Maybe that's why I am such a failure! Well, a failure at living one particular story that never was mine anyway, but a success at living a life filled with constant amazement, that I think might be better. Is it truly possible for anyone to genuinely plan? Or is it that those who thought they did were simply lucky that in their rare case things turned out the way they had "planned"? What road is there that doesn't have that unexpected fork in it?

    One of the biggest negatives in most people's lives is that fear of the "number". I even see see kids, now, who are fearing and regretting growing out of the first grade! Oh my, why, even THIRD GRADE looms! How ominous! So, what is "30", really? What is "90", for that matter? Those are only important if we see a wall at the end of the tunnel instead of a light.

    I think of it more as hiking to the top of the mountain, which anyone who has ever done this will clearly recognize. It always looks like the "top" is right there in front of you, but when you get there, you realize with a laugh that that was nothing, that the real top is so much further away than you had thought. And this phenomenon keeps on happening, false peak after false peak, until you finally DO get to the actual top, and oh, wow WHAT A GLORIOUS VIEW THAT REVEALS, and probably something you never could have imagined, but you wouldn't have wanted to miss it for anything. So "30" is one of those "early peaks" (congratulations at making it that far and being the kind of person you are at this point), but remember that the so-called "ending" is something so grand you wouldn't be able to take it all in.