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So, I’m 35 Today.

posted at 2:58 am
on Oct. 15, 2007

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I’m 35 today.

It’s a big day.

It’s looking like it’ll be a long day—no birthday day off for me.

Yesterday was a good day.

I went to Castle Fun Park with the pack: Martin, Rob, Clint, Matt, Dave.  The six of us drove out to Abbotsford after breakfast (about an hour up the Fraser Valley) and walked up to the doors a little trepidaciously.

It turns out we’d beat the weekend crowds—most people come to Castle Fun Park in the afternoon.  And by people, I mean, groups of kids ages 8-11, usually there for a birthday, but sometimes smaller groups for what seemed to be a step-dad visitation weekend.  Also spotted was perhaps a group of slightly older boys who had killed their driver / parent and were now running completely wild, leaping like baboons over the walls and staircases.

Castle Fun Park is a conglomeration of everything fun to do as a kid, with the removal of any sort of cohesive theme, and the addition of mildew and cat urine.  That said, some parts of it are really quite amazing.

The batting cage was tons of fun.  I’d never been in a batting cage before, which means the most times in a row I’d ever swung at a ball before was probably 3 (as in, steee-rike 1, 2, ...).  Being in a batting cage, I got to miss about 8 Whizzing baseballs in a row, and then hit one, then 7 and hit one, then 6 and hit one—until I was actually hitting about half of them, which was pretty exciting and made my hands positively hurt with fun.

We also did not one but two miniature golf courses, both of which were actually extremely well made, at the time they were made.  The outdoor one suffered a bit from the weather, but was challenging and creative.  I came in the middle of the pack, and at various times, Dave, Martin, Matt and Clint all scored holes in one.  Very exciting!

* * *

All this, a side note to my birthday.  It was a fun day, that’s undeniable.  I think the others hand plenty of fun, too.

But I was 34 yesterday.  And I’m 35 today.  And I have to say: I feel different.  I feel like I’m sitting in this chair like a 35-year-old.  Earlier, when I was standing in the hall talking to Susie, I felt like a 35-year-old standing in a doorway.

I’ve noticed when I’ve talked with some younger folks—women in college, scouts selling popcorn door-to-door—I’ve become one of those people who makes passing references to being “a guy my age” and “when you get to be an old guy like me” and of course I’m saying it ironically, I’m making a joke out of it, but it’s not a joke without a point of reference.  It’s funny, they say, because it’s true.  (And yet I also know it’s not funny—and won’t be until I’m like 90).

Because that’s the thing about being 35.  It’s old, undeniably an adult age, without any of the glory that comes of being actually old.  I’m not actually anywhere near getting a senior citizen discount, nowhere near a golden anniversary.  I’m not old enough for anyone to ask me if I remember some famous event. (“Travis, do you remember when Atari was an actual company?  Travis, tell us the story about the time Reagan was shot and lived! Travis, what was it like before DVDs? What’s Betamax?)

I was, in some respects, a “wunderkind”.  Not a Mozart wunderkind, but still, getting a job at the Los Angeles Times right out of college, being in charge of the Web site at Variety, one of three direct reports to the editor at age 28, knowing at least half of every Monty python sketch off by heart—yeah, I was young and stellar. I remember my 22-year-old self, wearing tie and tennis shoes to work, driving a Miata purchased online—those were crazy days.

* * *

Now, though, I’ve stopped tracking the same curve.  It’s by my (our) choice, that’s true.  We moved to Vancouver to find a place that was nice to live, and to have a life pace that was more moderate.  I don’t think we’ve succeeded.  I think we have a better life, but not a calmer one.  I hope this year is that year, the year of living gracefully.

I had coffee recently with a friend from L.A. and got to remember that life in detail, talk about the streets and the sunglasses, the restaurants and the press lists at the film screenings and the fake tans on the fake boobs on the fake people.  L.A. had good people, but the good people were my friends, they weren’t the majority, the ones in line behind me at Baha Fresh or in front of me on the 5.

* * *

Forgive me, I seem to have strayed a bit from my original topic.  They say the mind is the first thing to go. (There I go, making “old” jokes (“jokes” I suppose) again.)

My point is this.  I do many things that are kid-like.  Castle Fun Park.  Ultimate.  Video Games.  Juggling.  Ogling pretty girls.

I think now that I’m 35, I’m going to do less of those.  Not because I think they’re wrong, or because I don’t like them, but because I don’t think I like the idea of being a 35-year-old doing them.  And not to say that I won’t keep doing them from time to time.  It’s just that, I’ll be doing them less.  And I’m OK with that.

Overheard

“The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil.”

...who said it?

“Almost every American I know does trade large portions of his life for entertainment, hour by weeknight hour, binge by Saturday binge, Facebook check by Facebook check. I’m one of them. In the course of writing this I’ve watched all 13 episodes of House of Cards and who knows how many more West Wing episodes, and I’ve spent any number of blurred hours falling down internet rabbit holes. All instead of reading, or writing, or working, or spending real time with people I love.”

...who said it?

“Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.”

...who said it?

“I play with variables constantly.”

...who said it?

“Only the person who has learned Continual Love coming from a heart of Gratitude/Worship can effectively deal with the problem of loneliness.”

...who said it?

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