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Some thoughts on turning 35

I turn 35 this weekend.

Somehow that seems immensely older than 34. At 34 you can still round down. Culturally, you can still pretend to be closer to your youthful 20's. "Early 30's" has a certain ring to it. Turning 35 there is no pretending as "early" gives way to--at best--"mid." More realistically it's closer to late-30's. Round up. Middle age. As a white male born in 1979, I can expect to live 74.6 years.

I'm running a 10k the morning I actually turn this hallowed birthday. I'm thankful for that. That's not something I could have contemplated in my youth. The fact that I'm able to train and finish marathons and a possible Ironman is amazing. I am, physically speaking, in the best shape of my life. (Even if I have a bit of a gut, my arms aren't as toned as they once were, and my face is rounder.)

Mentally, I've learned a few things. The Mama and I always joke that we would have hated each other if we'd met earlier. Our running gag is that if we'd met earlier we'd have a lot more kids right now. But the truth is that she was a different person. I was a different person. And we became like intersecting lines who happened to cross paths at the right time. We both have noticed changes (for the better, I hope!) in each other as we've influenced the other these last few years.

I'm certainly more confident. More hardworking. Better under stress. More patient. Less bothered by little things. Recently, I was going through my mail folder noticing the ways my e-mail has changed. I used to have folders dedicated to the organization of baby things...that has given way to random e-mails from teachers and parents simply sitting in my inbox. A whole now-unused folder of trying to stay in contact with old friends. Some of which I'm happy to report have stayed in my life for many, many years and continue to be important. Other friends have blessedly left my field of vision--sometimes for too much negativity, sometimes for the simple fact that I can't even remember who the hell they were and the name is completely foreign. The most frequently used folders these days are for endurance sports, items related to my community involvement, and my growing love for farming. That last one would have been unexpected in my 20's.

Age brings less wisdom and more curiosity for me. Unless that counts as wisdom? I'm less bothered by Big Issues as I get older and more preoccupied with why my morning coffee tastes a little different each day. How to get my road paved. How to convince my preschoolers not to poop their pants. Those are the real concerns.

So as I turn 35, I'm busy trying to learn to be slower to anger. Quicker to forgive. Saying what I mean. Pushing myself more. Learning as much as I can about the world. I have no idea how 40 will feel, but 30 wasn't that bad. For some reason, 35 is a tougher one to wrap my mind around.

But I'll take it. It's better than the alternative.

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