* When I turned 4, we just left NYC and moved to the NJ suburbs where all my memories start. The next five years were pretty standard and set the original tone for what I’d be.
* When I turned 9, my brother left for boarding school and I turned into a weekday only child. For the next five years, I was more self-reliant and is probably a little responsible for my inclination toward introverted behavior.
* When I turned 14, I started high school and, for the next five years, I kinda lost track of who I was. I don’t look back on those years fondly, but I learned so much and started to grow up.
* When I turned 19, after a year of college, it all turned around. I hit my stride. The next five years, I was happy with who I was socially, who my friends were, and what my life was like. This was where I REALLY grew up (right now, friends who knew me back then are saying "really, he was acting grown up then?").
* When I turned 24, I just finished school, got my first full-time job, lost my mother, and would soon head to California. The next five years, it was all about me. Care-free. Having fun. Not answering to anyone. Going out a lot. Even going back to school.
* When I turned 29, I got married and left for Seattle. The next five years, I needed to take my career seriously and be a partner in a marriage. I had to think for two. The bridge to responsibility.
* When I turned 34, well…that’s around when this blog started. That’s when I became a father. I’ve still been thinking for two, but it’s a new two. I always said this birthday was MUCH more traumatic than 30.
And now I turned 39. Most professional athletes my age are now retired (this year is the first time ever that the Baltimore Orioles do not have one player older than me). Both of my kids are capable of coherent conversations and Robyn is getting very close to never needing another diaper. This is the year Iris starts school. This is the year where there are conversations at the dinner table and Cherise and I don’t speak for minutes at a time–because we can’t get a word in edgewise. They’re still who I’ll be thinking for, but by the end of this five-year stretch, they’ll be doing more of the thinking for themselves. Iris will be in the fifth grade and Robyn in the 2nd grade. BFFs. Slumber parties. Backtalk. Boys. I’m in no rush.
Maybe something will change with my business or my career, I don’t know. In fact, I’m sure it will. But if the last five years have taught me anything, it’s that my life triggers, once dependent upon my own rites of passage, are now more dependent upon my daughters’ rites of passage. And I’ve gotta admit that as a father, that’s very exciting. To quote a card someone once gave us, kids keep you young–but first, they make you feel old. That pretty much sums it up. I’m ready. 40, here I come…