Tuesday, August 23, 2005

I have a little over three weeks until I turn twenty-six -- I got a big laugh at my last music presentation after telling the audience that I wasn't born until three years after A Fifth of Beethoven was mixed by the Walter Murphy Orchestra. For the lifespan of these daily updates, birthdays have not been a big deal; they were just a day where I took off from work and made filler updates like this one , and I think Number 26 will be no different. Since it'll be on a Thursday this year, I may take two days off from my limitless vacation pool and squander them by doing nothing of historical value. I can't even think of any gifts I'm particularly interested in, so if you're having troubles thinking of something, you are welcome to buy me absolutely nothing at all and I will cherish it forever. I like giving gifts more than getting them anyhow.

When you're growing up, birthdays are all about becoming more mature. My birthday coincides fairly nicely with the start of the school year (since by law, Virginian kids can't go to school until Labor Day so King's Dominion's high school employees can get two more weeks of slave labour in). At each birthdate in my formative years, I remember looking back at the previous school year's gaffes, pitfalls, and embarassing moments, and wondering how I could have been so foolish or naïve. I would resolve not to let things like those happen again, and comfort myself with the fact that "I now know better". Of course, it was also naïve of me to think each year that I was as mature as I could ever get, only to revisit the timeline one year later and repeat the exact same thought process. Apparently pattern recognition is not possibly when you apply it to yourself.

Eventually, this cycle of evaluation fades away and you start to realize that you're finally getting older without getting any more mature. Perhaps you have fewer regrets, or you've just run out of stupid situations to fall into, but either way you wake up the day after your birthday (or three if you like your birthdays in bars) and realize that not a whole lot has changed. I'd say that for me this turning point was my 22nd birthday, during my first year in Florida. Yes, I was in completely different surroundings, but I really didn't feel like I had changed a whole lot in the previous year, or learned dramatic new philosophies or epiphanies. I learned new things about the world and myself in the following years, but nothing that would have really made a differencein the previous years -- like I was just buying new mental furniture instead of having to constantly figure out how I was misusing the old.

I think most people go through these two phases of life though they may never put a name to it (and there may be more phases to come, but I haven't lived that long yet). Where people differ is how they react to the realizations. Do they become depressed because they're just getting older without many inner-self-altering changes under the hood? Or are they comfortable because they now have a foundation of character that they can trust to be 100% self? I fall squarely into the latter category -- I'm relieved that the awkward experimentation phase of life is over and probably wouldn't change a single thing about it (even if I didn't always like where things were headed at the time). Though I don't know where the road leads from here, I can see how everything has come together up to this point. Even though I'm not exactly where I expected to be at 25.93424 years of youth, I'm happy with where I'm at, the things I've done, and the people currently in my life.

I don't like life surprises -- I wouldn't want to wake up next year forced to re-evaluate the way things work, so feeling comfortable with my core self means that there's one less thing to worry about should the world decide to shake things up for good or for bad in the coming year. (And the world does do stuff like that. The world can be a little bitch sometimes). Should life-changing events occur now, like great grandchildren, marriage, or partial paralysis from a freak tuna fish mishap (not necessarily in that order), by golly, I'll be ready for them!

I'm also thankful that my mistakes and pitfalls are usually pretty low-key. When a VT friend, Nikki, visited me in Florida, all my Florida friends wanted to hear embarassing stories from my VT years, but she couldn't think of any. When I told Anna I'd introduce her to someone from high school, she said she would want to hear all the shocking stories of high-school-BU. Luckily, enough years have gone by so my high school years are now one seamless airtight alibi of good behaviour and devoid of any embarassing moments. I've been coming into contact with a lot of forgotten faces from high school recently, and all they can remember about me is that I was the "really short kid".

For fun, here are two embarassing moments from my childhood that I would love to do over (both more than a decade ago, so my recent prehistory can remain the parable of flawless behaviour that it is today):

  • In seventh grade, I wrote an anonymous mushy poem to an eighth-grade girl I liked and secretly put it in her locker. Despite the cloak and dagger routine, she knew who it was because I followed her around like a lost puppy all day long, much to the chagrin of her and her friends. In my defense, I was only eleven years old in seventh grade, so I was admirably socially inept in the world of boys and girls together ("playin' funny games").

  • I was at a summer music camp at Longwood College after tenth grade, watching some other kids play tennis. After much supportive coaxing, they convinced me to play with a borrowed racket. On the very first return, I somehow managed to trip over the racket and tumble to the clay in front of two hot flute players. I opened a two inch abrasion on my shoulder (the scar of which is still visible today) and scratched up the racket pretty badly. Were it not for my heavenly cornet playing, they all probably would have laughed much longer and harder, but I think they were as embarassed for me as I was. "It's a good thing he's got that music thing going on, because tennis certainly won't pay the bills."
  • There's another one involving my Freshman Prom, but it's an epic tale and far too long for today's update. If my loyal readers really want to hear it, I'll write it up someday, and then crawl into a hole and hide.

    This cat video of Amber is too cute not to post: (631KB WMV)

    Happy Birthday Ann Lamond!

    Piano man was a hoax
    Cloned wildcats have kids
    I wonder if they got to keep the gifts

    Yesterday's search terms:
    latest news about lea salonga, should wisdom teeth always be extracted in teens, i have to kill you because you can identify me

    tagged as memories, deep thoughts | permalink | 7 comments


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