What’s in store for Thirty Four?

Today’s my birthday. I’m 34. I think this is the first birthday I’ve ever said it, but I feel older. Not old, but older.

Undoubtedly some, if not most, of that feeling of age relates to being a parent now. Nothing forces you to look at the world in more “grown up” terms than when you have someone’s life depending on your ability to make the right decisions. Really impossible, I think, not to mentally age a bit due to the responsibilities being a parent endows you with.

But I don’t feel as old as I thought I would. I’m sure this is common, and I’m betting we’ve all awoken one birthday morn and said, “Huh, when I was 10 I thought 34-year-olds were really old… but I don’t feel like I thought that guy would feel.”

I guess what we don’t see when we’re 10 is that the 34-year-old still has that 10-year-old in them. They’re wearing adult clothes, have adult jobs, and talk about adult things, but they were 10 once and so know how to be a 10-year-old if and when the opportunity arises.

And so as much as being a parent has made me feel my age more than anything else ever has, having a kid also creates those opportunities. I get to sit and watch cartoons, play with blocks and snack on sugary cereal. Sure, I have to pay bills, stress about money and generally just speak adultese, but I’m damn sure that when I turned 25 I wasn’t walking around with “Dance your cares away (clap clap) worries for another day…” stuck in my head (thank you Jim Henson and bit torrent).

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