Sunday, February 23, 2014

I was Expecting to Grow Antennas When I Turned 30...

I turned 30 today. 30 years old. I thought there would be more to it. It sounds like such an ominous number. 30. If I was an athlete, analysts would have conversations about if I’d lost a step or if my body would hold up much longer. It’s the number that hangs over youth, waiting to pounce with the yolk of adulthood.

My life looks very different than I envisioned the day I turned 20. Back then, you might have heard me say words like “stoked” or a sentence like, “Lawn Boy is Phish’s sell out album”. You might’ve heard me say something about my strong opinions concerning the war in Iraq, or my plans to move out west, or that I didn’t go to Wal-Mart because they were “corporate”. Really, you would’ve just heard me say whatever I thought might make me look cool.

I was this way because the only thing I’ve ever aspired for was to be liked. For other people to believe I was strong. Capable. Significant. That my words carried weight. That I was important. 

I worked very hard at this. So much so that I created versions of myself to fit any possible setting to gain the affirmation I wanted. In college, I bought books simply because they would impress girls who saw them on my bookshelf. I once had a conversation with a girl about our favorite Ernest Hemingway novels, having not read a single word of an Ernest Hemingway novel. I once bought a Sigur Ros album, and lit candles while I listened to it in my apartment. I even majored in English.

This need to create an image has hung with me throughout my twenties. After college, I was ashamed to tell people I worked in my dad’s business because I didn’t want them to think I wasn’t capable of having my own career. I wanted so badly to have grand achievements that left people awestruck, and we could talk about how much the (insert cool career field) world was changing.

So much wasted time.

Now jump ahead to today...

Today, on my thirtieth birthday, my wife threw me a party. So many people that I love were there. I spent the rest of the day with five of my closest friends, who don’t give a damn about my acheivments or the books I’ve read. At this moment, I’m sitting at my dining room table. My daughters are asleep in their rooms. My dog is curled up in her spot. My wife is asleep in our bed. My entire world is under my roof, and they don’t give a damn about my achievements either.

While I was trying so hard to make people believe I was something I wasn’t, God gave me a life full of people who love me deeply and profoundly for the man I am. No image necessary.

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