Just around the corner is another milestone for me, 35 years on planet Earth. It is hard to imagine that 30 years ago I was just getting the knack of reading down. That 25 years (or a quarter of a century) ago I was just entering the awkward years of adolescence, which in it of itself lasts nearly a full decade. That 20 years ago I still had to wait another 12 months before I could drive a car solo, and shortly there after have my first accident. That 15 years ago I was only starting my first year of college at TU. That 10 years ago I was just one year into my residency in South Korea and five years ago I was reaching another milestone, 30 years of age.
As I write this I'm listening to Frank Sinatra's "My Way." A song that has personal meaning to me, because I personally have led my life so far just like that, my way. Through the ages, through my 35 years, I have always strived to do everything in the best way I believed possible. In those 35 years I have made mistakes, alienated people, been seen as cold, non-conforming and much else. Of course no person is so singularly anything. Over the past three and half decades I have also strived for attention, looked for friendship, hoped for love and generally been disappointed in much of what I have failed to attain.
I don't think anyone would ever state that I was overly confident, but they would probably say that I simply walked to the beat of a different drummer, if I may be so trite. In that, they would be right. I have to admit that I believe more people should walk the walk of true independence, but it can come at a cost. A cost I have paid at times in spades. Yet I have never-the-less led a nearly charmed life in many way. At an age when most are giddy about getting keys to a car, I was hoping a jet plane to Japan. I experienced working on a beach for two summers in the City of Cities, New York. I had the incredible opportunity of working in a foreign country for four years right out of college, learning truly what it meant to be independent.
There have been lonely times, but my 34th year has again shown me my charmed side. Meeting Tracy and bringing her and Courtney into my life have increased the joy I feel each day ten fold. For once in a long time, a birthday represents moving forward and not a feeling of falling behind. There is still much I want to achieve, but in this, the final full day of my 34th year I get to say, "It's going to be one fine birthday." It's going to be a birthday to remember, a milestone worth embracing.