Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Thoughts on turning 27

Most people would consider 27 a rather uneventful birthday. Nothing much happens. Insurance begins to laxen in some states, that's a plus. Otherwise no major milestones.

I suppose that my own perspective is heavily influenced by the fact that I'm also finishing my Master's degree soon. It makes me take a more conscious account of where I am, where I thought that I would be, and where I plan to be going.

The seminarians have really done everything and then a bit to make this feel like a real birthday. It's hard though. Once upon a time my birthday was a major event. Normally it was right before or at the beginning of Spring Break. Usually the festivities would kick off with a Barkley Invitational, named after Sir Charles, which was a no fouls basketball game. Quite entertaining, especially as my friends and I got old enough to really rough up dad and uncle Tim. We would always have a big fish fry followed by a game of RISK with the owner of the Middle East controlling to hookah. Dad and Tim, now sore beyond any fast or painless movement would drink copious amounts of Heineken and Busch as to chase their Jagermeister while doing up the fish fry. The coolers were also stocked with mountains of Dr. Pepper and IBC root beer out of the bottles and instead of cake I always requested King Sized candy bars by the dozens...

oh yeah.

Typically I wouldn't even pay much attention to the RISK game. It was fun playing with the RISK council (my homies), but it wasn't actually "the point". I can still see them all now, in the blossom of their youths. Dooba, Jereme "Cowboy" Cowan with his snake-hiss laugh, Oz entertained by our antics, big Jeff Norrid providing sthe antics as he and Dooba traded sounds when throwing each other's dead armies off the map (Dooba would say "bzzz" and wave his hands like Ruby Rod while big Jeff would say "gee" and toss the dead little soldier off the map and at you). Massey was laughing and blowing on the IBC bottle tops to make the deep whistling sound. Gathercole would be trying to slip in a sly move while emotions were tied up elsewhere. Benny carefully plotted in the corner while we waited on Berumen to get a move on and come over. Hedrick slacked in the papsan chair eating and drinking, intoxicated by the potential for sloth provided at the Fulmer estate. Paul and Charlies would call. My sisters were so young then. They'd watch us all with their beautiful big, brown 1st grade eyes like we were heroes out of the old myths. They couldn't wait for the day when there were college aged and finally old enough to join the RISK Council. And well, I guess too young to really think about the fact that we would all be long gone by then.

I sat there and took it all in. I felt euphoria back then, such that I haven't felt in so long. The overall sensation of peace. I had my place. I was among friends. We had our whole lives in front of us. We were all there... scholarships in tow, athletic, worn out from a hard day of Barkley, vibrant, not preoccupied. No broken hearts. We just played. The world was so much smaller and we were important to it. I washed down a bite of King Snickers with a swig of root beer. Sugar blended with sugar but no matter, I was cut from running and weight lifting. I looked at my friends. They were so beautiful. The world around me blended into a harmonious silence, and I belonged to it, drinking in and flowing with the quiet amidst all of the ruckus.

I went to bed that night. I was 19. I woke up the next morning and I was 27. I assume there were days in between, but I can't be sure now. It all blurs together like a movie viewed in fast foward. If I hit the button again I'll be 37. Wonder what that'll look like? I wonder if the RISK council still thinks of those times? I'm all wonder, and last of all I wonder what the 19-year old who went to bed that night thinks of the person typing this now. Eight years older and I wonder what I have to show. It's like a one-third life crisis. Why wait for midlife?


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