Happy Birthday to me. I am 36 today.

I've had more of a reason to think about age lately, and how it relates to me in an abstract way. I've been thinking mostly of the early 1990's, which is a perplexing two decades ago now. It seems strange to categorize memories so clear and direct as twenty years distant, and yet I stand here just the same. And I've begun to feel strangely nostalgic about those times, even though as I was going through them I wanted nothing more than the clock to expire. I would never go back to those circumstances willingly, and yet there is a simplistic charm to the daily pattern that I long for somehow.

Because I do not live in a simplistic pattern now. I am busy at all times, needing to keep track of my life on a strictly updated calendar. Those moments where I am at a loose end feel more like hazards to be navigated than a needed respite. I need to do something to change the way I think about that, otherwise I will burn myself out. But there is a whole world out there that needs exploring, investigating, interrogating. Leaving that quest aside for even an evening feels like a personal betrayal. This is as good a sign as any that I need to slow my life down a bit, and evaluate what it is that I am actually looking for.

This last year saw the transition from one set of anxiety and fears to another. I went from underemployed to fully employed, and while I may not have a full grasp of the new position I know it is within my reach. Instead of a blind panic about the future, it has returned to the previous levels of anxiety and hopefulness. My wife finishes her dissertation in a few months, which brings a whole other set of variables into the equation. Very good friends of mine had a baby, and I spend a historically unprecedented amount of time doing baby things.

So many new beginnings. So many moving parts.

I've been sick lately. A bad case of tonsillitis kept me home for the whole beginning of this week. Before that was a cold that came out of nowhere and leveled me for a few days. It used to be I only got sick once a year, in February. It seems as if that arrangement has been altered. In fact, the whole of the arrangement with my body seems to have shifted into something more unstable and unreliable. I've always treated the mind and the body as if a solid wall existed between them, and I had better figure out how to tear that wall down if I want to keep this good thing going.

I am glad that the mind remains, and still works in a manner that I understand. There is the regular absent-mindedness, but that has always been a puzzle to figure out and route around. Writing is a bit more of a struggle, but I think that is the result of it having more meaning and more thought than it ever has before. And the data still flows and fits in the way that it should, and that is very encouraging. I might still have the smarts to survive out here.

And when I think about the future now, it contains more of a delightful mystery than it ever has. I wonder what it will feel like out there, ten and twenty years from now. I think I look at it the same way that I look back twenty years ago, and try and recreate the present self in that time. None of that fits, but the feeling itself is what I am after anyway.

There is so much potential left out there for me to find, so many new routes that I can't even imagine until the spring in front of me like a wild garden. I'm not even bothering to look for the path anymore. Let's romp though the overgrowth and explore.