I may be older and wiser but I don't know the answer to these questions. Maybe Socrates could answer my question with a question so we would find the answer together. Who knows. All I know is that life just slipped by so fast. One moment I was 16 and leaving home. Next moment here I am, suddenly more than twice that age, and back on the West Coast. The one thing I must say that makes me pleased about this particular birthday is that it marks the fourth year in a row living in California. Had I turned 33 still stuck back East it would be unhappy birthday to me instead. California is home for many reasons apart from the obvious. Long before I was even 16 my gut just knew that my 30's and beyond would be spent loving living in California. If I was still domiciled in the place where I existed for over a decade before moving to California, a spot on Earth that never felt like home, this day would have been exclusively bitter instead of bittersweet. For 33 to coincide with another year living where I feel physically and spiritually home, softens the sucker punch from Father Time. My point is, if birthdays are a benchmark to measure how far you have come in life, does having certain things necessarily indicate that you have used your time on Earth so far as well as you could have? Certainly this is something to ponder, yet pondering can quickly turn into navel-gazing, and I refuse to waste time doing that.
People asked me if I had any goals or intentions for this new year of life. The answer is no. I don't know why. I used to write down life objectives each birthday up until two years ago. Why I stopped is unknown to me. With time and life such fleeting experiences I guess I just wanted to simply live in the moment as much as possible. Being useful and productive is still really important. But getting older can force you to make it a priority to enjoy the here and now.
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Reflections on turning 33 would not be an honest self-examination without addressing the innately female question posed to me by my mother as she wished me a Happy Birthday. Mom didn't ask if I was going to start thinking seriously about finding someone and making her a grandchild or two. She has always been more modern in that regard. Mom asked me where the time went. Her statement was more of an afterthought but I couldn't help but ask myself: why aren't I somewhere else by now? Meaning: wasn't I supposed to be married already, have a child or two, own a summer cottage in Lake Tahoe, or anything else associated with this life stage that I am definitely in now. Our value as a person does not equal the balance sheet for the assets in our personal investment portfolio. Yet as much as there are second acts in life and California in particular is the land reinvention, time does run out. The clock will stop one day. If you don't have the things that matter most to most people by a ccertain deadline, you never will.