So...not to make a big deal out of it or anything but, this Sunday, I'll be turning 37 years old. I'm not entirely sure how that's possible because I could swear it was only yesterday that I was just a young man wearing leather pants and running around the city. But I checked my passport again and, sure enough, it's not a typo. I'm definitely turning 37.
But do you want to know the truth? I'm really totally cool with turning 37. Normally, I'm fairly introspective on the eve of any birthday. But this year, I've probably been less reflective than any other year. Turning 37 just doesn't seem to be much of a life-defining milestone for me now.
When I turned 18, I thought it was great. In my youthful state of naivete, I mistakenly thought being eligible for the draft signified some sort of actual entry into adulthood. Ha!
Turning 21 was also semi-eventful but only because I could drink without getting hassled (not that big of a deal but I guess I handled it better than some people.)
Then, of course, came 25, which had all the melodramatic Sturm und Drag of the whole "Oohh...I'm a quarter of a century."
On the eve of my 30th birthday, I actually was fairly reflective. I spent quite a bit of time trying to take stock of my affairs and contemplating how I wanted to lead the rest of my life.
At 35, I did a little more of the same. But it was much different because, at 35, I was pretty comfortable with whom I had become and, most importantly, I'd already found the love of my life (Yes, that's YOU, honey!)
So now I'm turning 37. I've got a great wife and a beautiful child. Both make me happier than I probably deserve to be. I know I'm a lucky guy and, if you know me at all, you also know that I don't take anything for granted. At heart, I'll always be a strangely cynical pessimist. But what can I say? Even I've got to admit that life is pretty good. I've got a roof over my head. There are a couple of steaks in the freezer. And when I take off my shirt, I can still see my penis without holding my gut in.
In general, I don't really know what it means to turn 37 and I've had a tough time being able to gain any real perspective on it. So, as usual, I thought I'd make out a few lists to try and clarify things for myself.
Here are some other 37 year-olds who make me feel kind of young and cool
Cuba Gooding Jr.
Here are some people that (for one reason or another) I CANNOT believe are also 37
Mary Lou Retton
Here are some things I did when I was 25 that I'd still like to do now (if only I weren't 37)
- Grab a beer, pack the bong & rub one out every night before the 11:00 pm SportsCenter.
- Consider the celery in my Bloody Mary to be my Saturday morning breakfast.
- Fit into the aforementioned leather pants.
- Eat dinner every night over the kitchen sink.
- Spend entire weekend days lounging in bed, drinking coffee, smoking cigarettes and doing the NYT Sunday crossword puzzle.
- Slather Tabasco sauce on everything from pizzas to french fries to salads.
- Ski the bumps, play full-court hoops, or run 10 miles without feeling like "Big Puss" took a tire iron to my knees.
That's a relatively short list. So basically, I guess it only reconfirms the fact that I'm feeling pretty comfortable with turning 37. I've come to accept many things about my life and I'm totally cool with them. I know now that I'll never fulfill my dream of pitching for the Mets. I'll never be the youngest Mayor of New York City. I'm not going to walk on the moon. I probably won't be getting that PhD in history. And I think it's pretty safe to say that I'll never be the Asian Eddie Vedder (in fact, I've probably got a better chance of being the Black Neil Diamond.)
But I can also look back on my life so far without any major regrets. And though there's always room for self-improvement, I know I'm trying hard every day to become the best man, husband and father that I can be. While I may not lead my life according to the principles of any organized religion, I know I'll always be faithful to The Code.
So on the eve of my 37th birthday, I leave you the wise words of my main role model, Homer Simpson...
"I used to rock and roll all night and everyday. Then it was every other day. Now I’m lucky to find a have an hour a week in which to get funky."
Have a great weekend, everyone!