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Wednesday, May 22, 2013


It is midnight as I write this and I am now thirty-two years old. Just a few years ago, I was twenty-three: lost and bitter, meandering through life, making mistakes that I should have been old enough not to be making any more. I still make some of those mistakes today from time to time. I like to think I have the maturity now to appreciate them, to see them as guides towards being a better person…or at the very least, a somewhat entertaining one.

Some of my favorite moments in life were some of my most epic fails...and usually involved a girl. Like the time during my junior year of high school when I enlisted in the U.S. Army through their "split-option program" to impress Tabitha Thrash, a petite redhead who had been one of my closest friends. She was in the class above me and had just enlisted herself in hopes of becoming a military police officer. I remember the freckles on her face and how they surrounded her green, determined eyes. I remember not knowing what to do with my life after graduation and whether I could even get into college and how I'd pay for it if I did. So I enlisted. I remember making out with her in the recruiting office parking lot and talking about whether we would see each other after we got back. I saw Tabitha maybe once or twice after that day, then we shipped out to our respective training facilities. I heard some years later that she met someone while at Basic and married him during a weekend pass. Such is life.

The take away: believe only about 50% of what your Army recruiter tells you. Do your own research. To this day I wish I made a better career of the military. Maybe asked for deployment to Europe or picked a military specialty that had a $30k signing bonus attached.

I am thirty-two today and I am as scared of the days to come as I was at sixteen. At least, I am finally a college student. At twenty-nine, I found the courage (read: motivation) to go back to school because of a girl, a brunette this time—although when I met her a few years earlier she had red hair. After years of gentle prodding and out right nagging, I decided to take the plunge—quite randomly actually. I was bored during a slow day at work and since I've been promising for years at this point to do so, I decided to apply for school. It was a whim. I expected that I had missed out on the semester deadlines and thought I'd just get the formalities out of the way in time for the next. I was surprised when I got the invitation to enroll in classes in time for them to begin two weeks hence.

Today, I am thirty-two. A week and a half from today, summer semester begins. It will be my second to last semester at Georgia Perimeter College. If all goes well between now and December, I'll have an Associate's degree and will be deciding on where to transfer to finish my Bachelor's. I feel like I'm sixteen again, scared shitless of what's next, whether I can hack it in my next school and in the real world, and whether I will continue to make my wife proud. Although, I downplay my reaction every time she tells me how proud she is or whenever she brags about my grades to people, I get butterflies every time I see her beaming with pride. I think of the doors that will finally open because of a degree, how my family will benefit from it. I think about how grown up I feel when I think beyond just myself and when I think about my family. Sixteen year old me would probably never understandThe warm and fuzzy feelings spread from my chest and blankets me. And things aren't as scary.

I am thirty-two now and I have a penchant for introspection on my birthdays. Let me tell you a secret. A few hours before my twenty-first birthday, I had a panic attack. I thought I would die before I turned twenty-one, most likely in my sleep. I got it in my mind that I would die just before May 22. And every year after that I would get all squirrelly. I didn't have panic attacks anymore, I was just convinced that some divine being was trying to kill me. I was sure of it. I had proof: an illness that wrecked my body and caused enough pain that I contemplated ending it, a deer jumping through the driver side window of my car and head-butting me as I drove 55 mile an hour on a busy road days before my birthday, several other near misses on the interstate, having to clear a drainage ditch of debris during a lightning storm or risk water damage to my house on several occasions on or near my birthday, a May hail storm or two. They were just some of the evidence that supported my irrational belief that I would not see my next birthday. So now I stay up past midnight every May 21, just to make sure I make it. I don't even get those feelings anymore. They stopped around my thirtieth birthday—probably because I started forgetting that my birthday was just around the corner. I actually kept forgetting that it was coming up this year. A co-worker reminded me again yesterday afternoon. In hindsight, that probably explains why I was clearing a drainage ditch of debris in the middle of a lightning storm this past Saturday.

But as traditions stand, I'm once again awake past midnight and one year older. I am thirty-two years old, I'm babbling in a blog post at an ungodly hour past my bedtime. You'd think I'm drunk right now, but all I've had was root beer. I'll sign off for now. Goodnight, friends and followers. As  a gift to you, I present to you photo proof of my adulthood.

Me, about age 3
My costume for Dragon*con 2012