Turning 38

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A few weeks ago I turned 38. There’s certainly nothing magical about this age. It’s basically an age that asks “Are you ready for your 40’s?” I don’t know what my answer is. I guess, some days I am and other days I nearly hyperventilate at the thought. I do know that I’m emerging out of this idea that I have a bunch of wisdom or enlightening thoughts to share. I suppose that’s why I haven’t blogged very much this past year. Inspired thoughts in paragraph form are few and far between. Though, I have read more this year than I have since I was a kid. I used to read all the time, because what else did kids do that didn’t have a TV in the house, let alone all the crap that kids have to stare into these days (my kids included)?

I do know that I’ve been “in the moment” a lot more this year. By that I mean; noticing and embracing the little-ness of my kids. Sure they can be completely annoying and unreasonable and well, I could go on but let’s keep it fun shall we? Last night, after the boys’ swimming lessons the three of us jumped into the hot showers with our swimming suits on. As they were standing with the water dripping down their faces, just… two little boys that are short and loud and funny, I sensed the temporalness and beauty of the moment. I constantly remind myself that when Briar sits in my lap while I sit on the couch that it’s a precious short time that she’ll be so little and cuddly.

I’ve also been trying harder to notice all that Alissa does as a mom and writer. My selfishness about “me time” still gets the best of me. But I know (and Alissa knows and reminds me) that I could never do what she does day in and day out.

Bottom line: I know a blog can be anything you want it to be: a journal, an outlet, a way to teach or reach. And I haven’t had the time or the energy to do any of those things. And maybe that’s what being a 38 year old dad to little kids is; getting through the day so you can sit on the couch with your wife for a bit before you quietly crawl into your tiny spot in the bed because your wife and little daughter take up more space than they need.

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birthday blog. turning 37

This has been a year of learning for me. I’ll get to that list in a minute, but first, a quick update. Since my last birthday I’ve taken two classes centered around film making. Learning editing software and techniques is the main goal. I also had ankle surgery in Feb of this year and it went perfectly. I’m back running around and all of that.Alissa and I had our 3rd (and final) child. Briar is her name and cuteness is her game. She’s getting smilier every day and that’s a day-maker for sure.The birth went terribly. A C-section with all kinds of complications (and the anticipation thereof) made for a rough summer. But we had amazing help from family and friends and Alissa is tough so she’s making it happen. My love and admiration for her grows all the time.

River started full-time Kindergarten. That’s a blog (not just an entry; an entire blog) in and of itself. Rainn is getting a great handle on the English language. His usual gentleness and willingness to go along is refreshing and welcome in this house.

Ok, so here’s a list of some things I learned this year.

I learned that: 

– no matter what you write or say, people will read or hear exactly what they want to read or hear.

– most of the things I think I know are a small part of a bigger story that requires me to keep listening.

– the greatest skill we can cultivate is our practice in reading books that speak into our soul and challenge our mind.

– being a person of faith means doing more “refreshing” than “recruiting”. People don’t want to be sold something, they want to be saved from something.

– small, quiet panic attacks aren’t fun.

– my favorite moments as a parent (so far) is being a part of the brotherhood of my sons.

– you can’t identify yourself by your child’s performance (good or bad). That will get in the way of your love for them.

– I fall more in love with Alissa at every turn.

– Alissa is roughly 120 times tougher than I am.

– one should only read the book of Ecclesiastes while playing the song “I’m Walking on Sunshine” in the background.

– the phrase “I’m just too passionate” actually means “I’m too immature to know when to be quiet”.

– sometimes the doctor knows best, and sometimes the doctor doesn’t know at all.

– I am not doing enough to affect change.

– Twitter rocks, because being a jerk in 140 characters or less, is much harder than comment-puking all over a Facebook status.

– the lullaby of the familiar is an incredibly effective way to keep the mind asleep.

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I think that’s enough for one year. I have many things to be thankful for, and I am. May your October be beautiful and your Halloween be relatively uneventful.

birthday blog; 36

For some of you 36 is pretty old and seems a lifetime away. For others of you, it seems pretty young, either because you’re pretty close to my age, or you’re quite a bit older than me. Regardless of where you are on the age continuum we are all getting older together. The years roll over us and with each passing one, we shake our heads in disbelief that it went by that fast.

Physically for me, this year has had some ups and downs. I felt strong and healthy when I ran a half-marathon in May of this year, and for several weeks after that as I skipped along the ultimate-frisbee field unable to work my lungs into a stressful mode. That felt awesome.

I’ve also felt incredibly weak when in mid-July I wrenched my ankle and since then I’ve not been able to run more than across my backyard. In summary, I’ve set my sites on marathon running in the future and sadly let basketball slide into my selfish definition of a young man’s game, even though I’m quite sure I was the youngest guy on the court that morning when I landed in a yelling heap of man-fit and limped out more angry and embarrassed than I’d been since I was teenager. I can force a laugh about it now, but I’m pretty sure I need some sort of surgery.

I would say that my 30’s in general have been a time of genuine reflection so far. I’ve gained a real sense of my mortality and have allowed that to motivate the way that I interact with my sons… most days. Other days I can’t wait to get to work so that I don’t have to listen to a fit of hopelessness about a stuffy nose, a wailing cry from a non-devastating injury, or the background music to angry birds. On a side note let it be known that I could probably watch Phineas and Pherb for most of any morning and be completely entertained.

This year Alissa joined me in the 30’s. I’ve been blessed with a best friend that navigates life a lot like I do. We internalize it differently, but we both like to talk, so our common discoveries are shared often. Having someone walking through life with me who questions things, is never complacent, and who’s much nicer than I am, is a precious gift and with each passing year my luck is more and more apparent to me. (Christians, please don’t get bent outta shape over the word “luck”) *rolls eyes. See, I told you she’s nicer than I am.

There’s a theory that as you accumulate minutes, days or years here on the earth each one seems to go by faster. It’s based on the idea that one day or moment becomes a smaller and smaller percentage of time experienced, thus we experience it faster and faster. I’m not sure if there’s quantum physics tied up in that theory or not and frankly I don’t care that much.
What I DO think is that we can only experience one moment at a time and each one is precious. I don’t always live by this code but I am trying to more and more each year. Little by little I’m letting go of my hang-ups, and striving to find the beauty in each person and moment.

36 isn’t old, but it’s not young. I’m officially a middle-aged guy. I’m ok with that.

Reflecting on the first 35: Intro.

In about a week and a half (10/10/10) I turn 35. I think, for me, it’s a landmark age. No longer in my early 30’s; headed up to 40. The past year or so, I’ve been more thoughtful about what my life consists of. I fully intend to live past 70 but this could, very easily, be a halfway point of sorts.
Over the next several days, I’d like to both take an inventory and perhaps even set some goals.

Recently moving to Wisconsin and seeing the seasons change has aided me in feeling the ebb and flow of life. Of course there seems to be no better reminder of the speed of life than watching your kids grow, but I’ll get into that in the days ahead.

So I’ll map out the “Mall of Jared” and put a “I AM HERE” dot next to some universal life-priorities. Examples would include:
my family,
health,
faith,
music, and
maybe even politics (that will be a short one).
Perhaps I’ll throw in a few random theories on life and relationships of various paradigms.

All I know is that as I walk up the calendar, I thought my vision would effortlessly become clearer, and maybe I’m a slow learner, but that’s just not the case. There are a few places I feel I can see a pretty clear picture, but I have my blind spots for sure.

Thanks for reading and I’ll post again in a day or so.