The Big Three-Oh
March 23rd 2012 @ 9:08 pm General

I’m about to turn 30. Birthdays are a good time for reflection and birthdays that end in “0” even more so. And so I’ve been thinking back on my first 30 years: what I’ve accomplished in my 30 years, where I’ve improved or grown in the last, say 10 or so, where I did well, where I did poorly, what I want more of and less of, etc.

People get pretty worked up over 30, but I’m happy. There’s a lot of clarity in 30 – presumably less than at 40, but certainly more than at 20. I feel content in where I am as a 30-year-old. I’m well aware there’s a vast number of things I don’t know, but I’m confident enough in what I do know not to be overwhelmed by that fact. There’s been a lot of ups and downs and I’m proud that I attempted to learn something from all of them (and often succeeded).

I reflect on all of my birthdays, but I don’t generally share those reflections publicly. But I thought turning 30 was a good time to share.

So, over the past 30 years, what are some highlights? On the personal front, I…

  • Lived in another country for more than 2 years.
  • Traveled the world seeing more than 30 cities in 17 countries
  • Went on tour with Metallica several times racking up 77 shows in 11 countries.
  • Learned to drive manual transmission and a motorcycle (both were on my list at an early age)
  • Owned 4 bikes, two of which were Harleys
  • Had a Playmate pose on my Harley

On a profession front, I…

And in the past 10 years, what have I improved on? I…

  • Approach frustrating situations more calmly (I still have work to do here, clearly, but there’s marked improvement)
  • Understand my short comings and work to overcome them (this is of course never done, but again, I believe I”ve come a long way)
  • Gone from not even close to being able to run a 10-minute mile (when I got to college, technically 12 years ago), to running 8 miles a week
  • Learned to take care of myself first, (i.e. recognize friendships and relationships where I was being a good friend at significant health risk to myself, and not do that)
  • Forge stronger relationships with both of my brothers and their families

All of these accomplishments and improvements have been some part effort and some part luck. I certainly worked incredibly hard to get where I am, but I’ve also been blessed to have many fantastic opportunities.

Of course, it wasn’t all peaches and roses. I got cheated on (more than once). I got hurt and hurt people. I made countless mistakes with friends, family, and at work. I made bad choices or worse yet, failed to make tough choices because I was scared (this is rare with me, but it happens). I found out that sometimes even when you make the right/tough choice it still feels horrible. And at one point in my early 20s, I found I had become someone I neither liked nor could be proud of.

My To Do list is still long. I hope to scratch many more off in the next 10 years. Continuing my pilot-all-the-things goals, I’d like to

  • Learn to fly a plane
  • Drive a tram or train at least briefly
  • Learn to drive one of those massive trucks with two gear shifts

Though it’s more of a hope than a goal, also on the list is getting to drive a tank (I nearly got this opportunity in Switzerland).

Also in the next 10 or so years, I’d like to…

  • Own property
  • Understand how to manage my savings/investments better
  • Do a meditation retreat
  • Take some massage classes
  • Take a mixology class
  • Do another Metallica tour
  • Get married (I’m not in any rush to do it, but it seems like it would fit nicely in the next 10 years)

Interestingly, one of the things I miss from being younger is how shocked people were when you were very good at your job; I miss that puzzled look on people’s faces in the office when they’d say, “wait, and you’re only 22?” I of course get respect and compensation still, and I have no complaints, but those moments were fun.


As I begin my 4th decade on this planet I strive to continue to grow my awareness of myself and my surroundings, and my ability to be a good person, friend, boyfriend, brother, uncle, etc. I will endevour to find ever more challenging professional situations in which I can continue to hone my craft and discover new ones. I will seek to push new boundaries in myself and others and never settle for “good enough.” But most importantly, I hope to still be me in all things; to not compromise my identity for any reason while still being open-minded enough to accept any rational fact-driven arguments that invalidate ideals or morals I may have. I hope to never lose that quality that got me dubbed a nuclear generator: the tenacity and passion with which I approach my work and my life. In other words, while I will hopefully continue to grow as a person, I plan to always be the crazy Metallica-obsessed, Harley-riding, “fuck”-yelling, idea-challenging, devil’s advocate-playing, crazy motherfucker I’ve always been.

Finally, this crazy ride wouldn’t be worthwhile or possible if not for the people who have been on it with me. You all know who you are. Thank you and I love you.

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