It’s the eve of the first day of my 35th year and I’m starting a blog. I’m starting a blog because, at 35, I think I’m well past that stage of, “I’m not exactly where I thought I’d be in life.” I think that’s more of a 25- or 30-year-old thing to do. No, I’ve long since resigned myself to the fact that my life looks nothing like how I thought it would when I was 15, 18, 21, heck, even 30. It’s not that I’m disappointed in what it is, it’s more that I can’t really believe that so much time has passed. Aside from the addition of weird splotchy patches of skin, crow’s feet and other saggy, wrinkly body parts, I don’t feel much different than I did a decade ago. In fact, in a lot of ways I feel better. I know that I earn minor duckets at a thankless job, but I actually take some pride in my role as a mentor to the kiddos I spend the better part of my life with — even if the larger part of me feels like a sucker for caring so much about a job that very few people view with any sort of respect at all. And though I think I’ve seen moments of real innovation and inspiration in my life, I mostly continue to “beat on … against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” And I guess most of me is okay with that. Or if I’m not, I’m too lazy or discouraged to do anything about it.
But back to why I started this blog. The one regret, if I have any, is that I am not a writer. I pretend I’m a writer. I tell people I’m a writer, I teach writing, I even earned two degrees in (journalistic) writing. But for all that talk, I’ve managed to accumulate little more than a few grad school research papers, a couple of short stories for an undergrad lit class, and my crown jewel, a 136-page master’s thesis. Okay, so I’m pretty proud of that last one. I think there was a point at which I assumed I would start writing. A collection of short fiction, a memoir or two — my life is very interesting — even the great American novel. I was sure I had it in me, and I was just waiting for the right time to unleash the genius. But on this, the start of the middle year of my 30s, I’m beginning to believe it’s not, in fact, in me. I do believe, as Holden Caulfield would say, I’m a phony.
And so I will blog. I will blog for every day that I am 35. I will blog because I can find the time, and because I doubt anyone will ever read it, anyway. I will blog because I want to find out if I have anything worthwhile to say, or if I have any talent for saying it. I will blog because I want a “paper” trail. And I will blog because maybe, just maybe, it will lead to something else entirely. We shall see. In the meantime, I’ll tackle each day this year as I have all the other days in all the previous years: just knockin’ ’em down one by one.
I shall close this first post with some birthday memories that come quickly to mind:
– 10: Summer after 5th grade. Denver, Colorado. Slumber party. Received both Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” and Corey Hart “Boy in the Box”. Made up dance routines to the various songs featured on the cassette tapes.
– 13. Summer before 8th grade. Edmond, Oklahoma. Joint birthday party with Kylee Lasser at the Timber Ridge pool. Boys and girls invited. Got caught by Kylee’s dad making out with Tye Cunningham on the tennis courts (Kylee was with Matt Wilson, I think?). Matt and Tye referred to Kylee’s dad as Grizzly Adams because he was a big man with an even bigger beard.
– 14: Summer before 9th grade. Phoenix, Arizona. Just moved so I had no friends. Went to Marie Callendar’s on Chandler Blvd. with the family and grandparents. Had a really bad perm, which is immortalized in a photograph of me holding some balloons at the restaurant.
– 16. Summer before 11th grade. Tempe, Arizona. Michelle drove a group of us that included current boyfriend Dax, recently home from his New Jersey military school, to Mill Avenue to do something? We were in her white Chevy Corsica (FKP 360). Ran into Michelle’s uncle Lanny, who I believe was some sort of street performer. I think we may have pretended we liked coffee so we could hang out at Coffee Plantation.
-19, 20. College. Scottsdale, Arizona. Teppanyaki and sake with sorority sisters at Kyoto. Shared birthday with Taryn, so I amassed a bigger crowd than I could have ever on my own. First year: threw up in a planter outside the restaurant and nearly got boyfriend Ryan arrested as I hung out the window of roommate Sara’s CRX down Stadium drive back to my dorm at ASU. Second year: no puking.
– 24. Carmel, California. Tim surprised me with a trip to the Tickle Pink Inn – to this day, one of the most glorious places I’ve ever been. Got the full princess treatment complete with a beautiful gift (Raymond Weil watch), delicious dinner at Pacific’s Edge and relaxing weekend.
– 30. Scottsdale, Arizona. Small group of friends — both old and new — at the Sandbar. Had a blast dancing ’til the wee hours and smoking cigarettes out of the single-sales machine in the bathroom, courtesy of Vihar.