As I sit here with a glass of scotch on what is the beginning of my birthday weekend — I work Tuesday through Saturday so in theory late tonight I can let my hair down a bit — I’ve been thinking about what I want to accomplish as I turn 30.
Twenty nine was a tumultuous year. Maybe eventful is a better word. There were just so many changes that wrought havoc on my mental state — a state which was far more fragile than I ever believed. Amanda and I bought a house. I got LASIK. We cleared a very specific financial goal. We’re on our way to having no credit card debt. In general we were healthy. We both got our wisdom teeth out. We spent time with friends and met many new ones on the way, including ones in our neighborhood that have made us feel like we belonged from the get go. There were just so many positives.
We also lost my grandpa. I’ve done so much soul searching over the last year and just keep coming up empty. You can only be so strong for so long. You can only be stonefaced and soldier on for so long before you start to crumble inside. I cracked. When you lose arguably the most important human in your adult life, it’s bound to happen. After a miserable summer — despite everything great that was going on around me — I needed help. I knew it once my baseball season ended. Baseball has always provided a refuge for me, in good times and bad, where I can put everything down, and for four or five hours just be a kid again. The times I felt best this summer were at the yard, playing with my friends. But no matter how hard I tried, those feelings would never last too far past the previous night.
I saw a doctor and was diagnosed with a minor form of depression, and when I think about it the stuff was probably there for a very long time, and it finally came crawling out as we drove back from my grandpa’s funeral. But I couldn’t run from it anymore, and I got help. Personally I’m anti-pills when they aren’t necessary, but going through a funk with a dull headache and no motivation to do anything at all isn’t something I’d wish upon my worst enemy, let alone even worse forms which may lead to thoughts of self harm — or worse. I never had anything like that. I was just miserable. After a few months and some dosage tweaks, I feel just about 100 percent.
But I feel like that’s been part of finding out who I am, and as I approach 30 on Monday, that’s what I truly want to do this year. I want to be more about relationships. Lunch with friends. Family interactions. Building new relationships and getting my name out in whatever positive way I can. I want to just fill my life with more positive experiences. That’s something I think I got away from, and I think it fanned the flames of my depressive fire. Or maybe it put them out. Perhaps I’m mixing metaphors here.
I also want to focus on quality over quantity in my life — in all facets — and that’s going to be a big part of turning 30 for me. This weekend, I’m starting that in terms of my possessions. Anything that I term “junk” will be either tossed or put up on eBay. I don’t need to live a life of quantity. I don’t need the clutter and possessions to be fulfilled; in fact, I think in some ways it’s doing the opposite. Why have three lousy, shoddy jackets when I can afford a nice single one? How many can you wear at once anyway?
In that case, I need to remember the words of Luke 12:15:
Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”
I grew up the oldest of seven kids, so I never really had a lot. That’s not to be confused with anyone growing up in poverty, but we were just a middle class family in a middle class kind of city. And after that, I was a poor college kid like everyone else, hustling to work two jobs to put myself through school. So you better believe I clung to everything I had. Just ask my wife. She’ll tell you a story about the week before we were married, but I probably shouldn’t go any further. Alas…..I don’t need to be tied down by physical possessions, and this year my goal is to break myself from that. It won’t be easy.
I also want to focus on my professional aspirations. I love what I’m doing for a career, but there’s always more. I have two podcasts and want to add a third, but I need to find ways to make them popular. To make them viable. To make them worth the time and effort of other people involved. I won’t stop working until that happens, but I’m open to all ideas how to do that.
I don’t know what my long-term vision is. I want to (continue to) do media stuff for a career, but I don’t know what the end game is. Whether it’s journalism, radio or even TV….I won’t stop until I get it.
But I do know this: I’m closer to it at 30 than I was at 20 — by a long shot.
I’ll drink to that.