So, tomorrow I turn 35 years old. Yeah, 35. It sounds sorta monolithic, with a stern and established ring to it. Some folks call 35 the “age of completeness” – the proverbial prime of life. Others are more fatalistic, tossing off the line “it’s closer to 40 than 30.” Strangely, I don't have a feeling either way. Today I feel a real sense of peace about how the first 40% (like CNN always says in their polls, plus or minus 3%) of my life has gone. Unlike 18 (overrated), 21 (beer had been uneventful for years by then) and 30 – which felt like a rite of passage – 35 just feels satisfying, surprisingly real and very much in the present tense. It has given me pause to stop and account for all of the experiences, blessings and good fortune that have smiled upon me in my life.
So, anyway, taking cues from several other bloggers out there, I decided to take an inventory. Think of it as a Harper’s Index for yours truly:
Married w/ Children: One wonderful wife. One incredible L’il Man.
Two Furry Babies: One that barks too much (dog); one that eats too much (cat).
On this day 35 Years Ago: PCHQ born at Fairview General Hospital, just in time for dinner (the scale sez I’ve yet to miss one since).
Brothers and Sisters: One younger brother and his wife, who’s every bit a sister… both of them too far away. One L’il One on the way for them. They find out tomorrow if they’re having a boy or girl. Talk about a Happy Birthday!
And the Rest of the Family: A Great Mom and Dad; Super Cool Extended Family, all 4 of L’il Man’s grandparents alive, well, very much a part of his life and ours! Rare, fortunate, lucky.
Homeowner: Yes, and it's great... I can play the stereo as loud as I want (ummm, well…).
First Generation College Student and Graduate (thanks MBNA, Discover and friends).
Cars owned: 2 (Still miss the 1974 Green Machine, the Buick Regal).
Car accidents: 2 (Lucky in both, no one injured).
Number of speeding/traffic tickets: 5 (N. Carolina Highway Patrol ruined a 5-year streak of perfection).
Number of U.S. States visited: 38.
Number of Countries visited outside the U.S.: 2, with 2 more on the horizon, hopefully.
Number of Nicknames to Date: 6, not counting the ones with vulgarities.
Published in my hometown daily paper at 20.
Internationally Published at 21.
Regularly published in my hometown daily paper at 23.
Number of Publications My Work has Appeared in: 35.
Number of Rock concerts attended: approx. 1,298 (again like CNN polls, plus or minus 3%)
Top 10 Best Shows to Date: Coming soon as a separate post, may have to do 20.
Tinnitus: Yes, though very mild. (The noise in my head tends to drown it out).
Met and interviewed a ton of artists. “Coolest as people” by far were: Jeff Buckley, Moby, Peter Gabriel, Marillion, Depeche Mode, J.J. Cale, Sarah McLachlan, Janeane Garofalo, the Kids in the Hall, Dave Matthews and Beck. “Most Difficult” by far were Frank Black (of the Pixies), Marilyn Manson, Green Day, and the singer from Third Eye Blind, Stephen Jenkins.
There were also a few oddities about 35 that dawned on me today... allow me to share:
At 35, I’m no longer conflicted about whether or not to leave New Year’s Eve and St. Patrick’s Day to the “professionals.” I’m coolio right at home. And sporting events? For $35, I get a $5 beer in a $30 seat, or 2 cases of beer, a more comfortable seat in front of the tube and no lines at the restroom. Doesn’t mean I won’t go to a game, I’m just more selective. 35 = increased selectivity.
At 35, I can run for President. Yeah, of the United States. Why? That’s a “because I can,” for sure. Too much pressure and I have zero experience “clearing brush,” so I probably wouldn't win. Plus, even though I’ve destroyed most of the photos and incriminating evidence from my wild and crazy past (kidding Mom), it really boils down to this: I don’t want anyone criticizing my hair (or lack thereof) while on the campaign trail.
At 35, I have yet to compromise my fashion sense or style (or perhaps lack thereof) to begin the steady diet of pique polo shirts. I see them on so many other Dads my age... not that there’s anything wrong with pique polos. This means: No one crack on my vintage tour shirts, m-kay? I accessorize them when need be.
At 35, I’m still a good 5 years away from a colonoscopy. Hopefully.
At 35, my recovery time for any sort of home improvement project, odd lot of yard work, physical exertion, etc., is snail-pace slow. I’m guessing that’s why you don’t see Aleve and Advil commercials that look like X-Games commercials on ESPN… you know, rocking out, flashing brightly… like video games… potential seizure material. Same goes for Icy-Hot, Tiger Balm… Alka-Seltzer… basically anything at CVS.
And finally, that leads me to… at 35, I am no longer a member of the advertising industry's “most sought after demographic.” Thankfully, this doesn’t mean I’m going to stop enjoying things targeted at the 18-34 audience. But it is the oddest thing to happen since the checkout girl asked, “What time is it, Sir?” several years ago. Sir? Oooof!
As for what I want for my birthday? You’re very kind, but I’m good, thanks. You can take the money you would have spent and donate it to a first generation college student (your own kid or someone else’s) or to a local animal shelter. That really would make my day.