Well, tomorrow I will turn thirty. Dirty Thirty, as a co-worker says. The last time I left a decade behind, I was in Tarragona, Spain. I looked like this.
Now I look like this.
It kind of snuck up on me, you know? Like I knew it was coming and suddenly it's HERE, like a final exam. The closer it got, the more I heard Tim McGraw crowing in my ear, talking about eating extra salads and laying off the Budweiser or whatever.
Well, I'm a Mormon and he's not, so our Next Thirty Years lists will have some discrepancies. Nevertheless, I felt impressed to put together one of my own.
5) Then: I learned a new language. Now: I'll learn another.
Now? Well, if I were to get serious with another language, the experience would be very different. My wife only speaks English, I'm not in school, and I'm not moving back to Europe anytime soon. Nevertheless, I feel like I could get proficient in, say, German by the time I'm sixty. And I'd like to. (I have how-to books on Irish and Scottish Gaelic, but the means to practice those are very rare and unlikely to make me fluent.) Thus, German is the goal. Check back in 2044 :-)
4) Then: I drove a quarter million miles. Now: Let's break half a mill!
I got my driver's license in November of 2000. I didn't get behind the wheel once the whole time I was in Spain, so really I've only been driving for 12 years, but last year I drove more in nine months (long-haul trucker) than I've done in any three years besides! Best I can figure, I logged around 250,000 miles in that time.
I'm not going back over the road in the foreseeable future, but I do plan to work hard, be successful as an author, go on tour frequently, and take my family on road trips twice a year. If I can make that happen, then breaking another 250,000 won't be a problem. Here's to another thirty years of adventure!
3) Then: I grew up, moved out, and explored the world. Now: I'll show my kids how to do the same.
The short version of this? I loved parts of my childhood, hated other parts of it, and was indifferent for a lot of it. The same can be said of my teens and early twenties. I'm very blessed to have gotten to see and do all the things I've seen and done.
At the same time, I know that if I'd had just a touch more ambition and vision, I could have done plenty of things that I now wish I had. Rather than reflect and lament a life of regret, I'm not going to worry about it. I have seventy more years to experience what this island Earth has in store. In the meantime I will figure out how to show my children what I didn't see, and let them go forth on their own. If they turn out to be better people than I am, I will consider that my greatest blessing.
2) Then: I read 700 books, I wrote two dozen of my own, and I drew on countless square feet of dead trees. Now: I'm only getting started.
I have far too many ideas for me to handle all at once. I've planned some, plotted others, and put them on a schedule. Let me say it this way: if I finished every single book that I have even partially drafted, outlined, started and/or abandoned, and published them at a rate of two per year, I'd have work to do until 2029 when my son starts driving.
I can't even wait.
1) Then: I got married. Now: I'll stay that way. For thirty years, and forever.
Marriage isn't a fairy tale; it's an epic. Epics are real. Epics run the full spectrum of life. You laugh, you cry, you know joy, you experience fear, you resolve, and you regret. Most of all, you push onward and you pick each other up when the journey starts to take its toll. That's Schaara. She is why I'm looking forward to my next thirty years.
So that's it. Mayhaps you have learned something about me today. I hope I have given you something that you can use for your next thirty. Go forth and conquer, my friends. Life awaits us all.
Let's get to it.