In Which I Birth a Man  

Today is a special day, as with it I bid farewell to that clumsy stage in life known as the early thirties, finally transitioning to the relative stability of my mid-early thirties. Don't get me wrong; 31 felt pretty good, but 32 is better by default because it's one year closer to 35. In case you weren't aware, 35 is the age when a man reaches the apex of his maturity, arriving at a trisection of awesome milestones:
  1. Able to become President (excluding foreigners and women).
  2. A tenuous and temporary balance is achieved between maximum facial hair growth potential, minimal chance of balding, and still manageable ear hair.
  3. Middle age officially begins.
I could see why some of my younger readers would question the awesomeness of the third item. After all, there is a very prominent stigma attached to middle age, which essentially adds the subtext of "old son of a bitch in training" to it. It's true to an extent; the aches and pains and blind corporate servitude of middle age can certainly be faulted for the regret-turned-bitterness that attaches itself to so many later in life. That, however, happens further down the road.

The awesomeness of middle age is not to be found within those oppressive working years, but is something inherent to the experience of becoming a full-fledged adult. You may think you're totally an adult when you turn 18, and then for real when you graduate college or get a big boy job, and again once you start a family. Wrong, wrong, and fucking spare me -- if Justin Beiber can get someone pregnant, that's officially off the table forever as a yardstick of adulthood.

Over time and with experience you learn that being an adult is nothing but a mindset. It's an attitude cultivated over your last 30 some-odd years of functional living. You've spent all this time growing as a person in a myriad of ways, yet are really only capable of judging yourself by other people's standards. This massively conflicting notion screws most of us up enough to last well through our twenties. It's not surprising considering most of us spend the first 8 years of our life being told how special we are, and then the following decade finding out that in actuality, only certain kinds of special are considered acceptable.

This is where the freeing effect of adulthood comes in. After all these years trying to fit in, wondering if others are judging you for the lamest of reasons, and even wishing you could be someone else, you'll notice these feelings being replaced with a new one -- an overarching sensation of not giving a shit whatsoever. It's more of a realization than it is a form of apathy. It's a new way of looking at things wherein you recognize the inevitable march of time and want to spend as much of it as possible doing the things you enjoy with people you don't secretly want to strangle. You start seeing younger generations for what they really are; overwhelmingly insecure people doing the best they can to figure shit out along the way (that and people whose music will never be as cool as yours). Love, humor, and purpose all develop new, richer meanings. In essence, you've removed the lens you viewed the world with throughout your youth and can finally start to see things for what they really are... which is approximately a 1000:1 ratio of things that don't matter to things that do.

Feel free to label this as simply another blog post from an aging nobody hoping to validate his senescence with dollar beer epiphany-fueled bullshit. It won't faze me I swear. I'm at a place in my life where I'm mature enough to take it, much in the same way your mom takes it from anyone drunk enough to overlook that thing on her face.

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