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July 20th, 2007
03:57 am
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A dragon looks at thirty*
I've got a birthday about to start in just a few hours.** Up until this morning, it was weighing heavily on my mind.

Something in my brain must feel awful betrayed at the rolling of the odometer, because I literally have not been able to think of turning 30 for weeks without the thought flitting past my brain: "It's been a good run." That's not the thought of a man passing a milestone. That's the thought of a man indulging in a little eschatological nostalgia.

Consciously, I know this seems ridiculous; unconsciously, I can't shake it.

It's a contradiction that I've been living with for a while. Take -- for example -- that both of my parents (in their late 60s) are still alive, and my odds at that longevity (the human average) are at least as good. But at the same time, I would already be 12 years dead if it weren't for 20th-century medicine's fortuitous talent for appendectomies.***

That's a sobering thought ... that everything I've made of my adult life is, essentially, time brazenly stolen out from under the nose of a patient and vindictive Death.

And yet ... and yet.

As morbid as my reflection was, it's true. Looking back from 30, it has been a good run. My legacy is one of living, of loving, of creation.**** What more could be done, except to keep giving, and to grow the castle upon that foundation?*****

This morning, something in my subconscious must have come to that realization, too, because I had a dream that threw it all into sharp relief.

It was a simple dream. My family, kadyg and I were all piled in a car, driving through richly forested Washington state, following the Pacific Crest Trail along and occasionally getting out for some day hiking or to offer some trail support to the thru-hikers nearing the end of their journey. The weather was perfect, and I was spending a lot of time basking in the sunshine and taking in the views.

Then the five of us ran across a thru-hiker, and all crammed like sardines into the car in order to take her in to town. "The Rose" was on the radio, and someone turned it up, and we were all singing along. Except the lyrics had been changed.

I am left with the last thing I sang, proudly, full of wonder and contentment, before the alarm clock buzzed: "I have given too many reasons / That bind my soul to life."

And that's it, really. As morbid as I might want to be, honoring the closure of a decade, there's just too much to like here. If something were to happen to me, it has been a good run and I wouldn't have many regrets -- but I would sure regret not getting enough time to take everything in that Earth's got to offer.

Here's to hoping I can say the same for decades to come.

--
* Because we just can't get enough of the cultural references here.
** Not true. I wrote the first part of this post in between shifts on what turned out to be a 16-hour workday. I've got another 10 starting in seven four hours. What a way to leave behind my 20s. *sigh*
*** Though packbat brought up this very topic days ago, I wasn't able to catch up on my flist until after I wrote this. Any thoughts of personal mortality are completely my own and not inspired by recent memes.
**** I also, with approximately 15 minutes left to spare, have finally lost my network administration virginity. Yes! For lo, I have hand-crimped my first CAT5 cable.
***** Also, apologies for the halfway-intentional free verse of this paragraph.

Current Location: ~/brainstorm
Current Mood: thoughtfulreflective
Current Music: "Too Young To Die," David Crosby
Tags: , , , ,

(19 comments | Leave a comment)

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From:makuus
Date:July 20th, 2007 12:20 pm (UTC)
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I'm not sure I could come up with anything meaningful in response except to wish you a good one.
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From:baxil
Date:July 20th, 2007 04:53 pm (UTC)
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Eh, the meaning will all sort itself out. :) Thank you!
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From:jolantru
Date:July 20th, 2007 12:24 pm (UTC)
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Happy birthday! :)
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From:dogemperor
Date:July 20th, 2007 01:11 pm (UTC)
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Happy birthday an' stuff :3 *is now at the crotchety age of 34 myself, LOL*
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From:krinndnz
Date:July 20th, 2007 02:40 pm (UTC)

29, 31

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I regret that I cannot welcome you to a prime of your life: that doesn't come until next birthday.





Many Happy Returns. ^_^
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From:baronlaw
Date:July 20th, 2007 02:49 pm (UTC)
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Happy Birthday!

Just wait till 40 looms on your horizon. ;)
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From:circuit_four
Date:July 20th, 2007 02:55 pm (UTC)
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This is one of the reasons I'd made a terrible Buddhist -- I rather like some of my worldly attachments. Happy Cycle 31, dear.
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From:baxil
Date:July 20th, 2007 04:52 pm (UTC)
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You and me both. I think the cosmology of buddhism is nifty, but for all of life's suffering, I've never been able to say I'd choose oblivion.

I realize that, from the perspective of the vast majority of humanity (and even possibly the vast majority of the universe), we're living in historically unprecented prosperity and relative peace (even modulo Iraq). That will skew the answer some. :) It's really hard to say what my answer would be if I could hold a broader range of sapient experience in my head. But I think I'd still choose the wheel -- if only because I think there's good reason to hope it's really a spiral.
From:deirdremoon
Date:July 20th, 2007 03:27 pm (UTC)
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Happy birthday!

A couple years ago, I had a dream wherein I really, truly knew I was going to die as I saw an accident set into motion, and it didn't matter that I was too young, or that it was a stupid careless accident, or that I had people waiting for me for an appointment. That was it, that was the time I had. I woke up very shaken. But I also kept an awareness of my mortality in a good, live-life-now way instead of a fearful, can't-do-anything way. I'm grateful I got the insight without *actually* almost dying. If you got insight from your appendectomy, I'm sure you're using it wisely.
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From:luna_torquill
Date:July 20th, 2007 03:39 pm (UTC)
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This year has felt like a time for me to stop, look around, and see where I've been, as well. I'm glad you've made it this far. Here's to the next thirty...
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From:lupagreenwolf
Date:July 20th, 2007 03:43 pm (UTC)
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Natal felicitations,a nd may the coming decade be even better than the last :)
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From:paka
Date:July 20th, 2007 05:33 pm (UTC)
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Happy birthday. And there's a batch of other things, but eh, enough for right now.
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From:elynne
Date:July 20th, 2007 05:51 pm (UTC)
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Last night I had a dream, that the last ten-twelve years had been a dream. I woke up in the dream with a fading memory of things I had been trying to tell myself about the future (the most urgent of which was, perhaps unsurprisingly, "GET THE FUCK OFF GLUTEN!!"). When I woke up, I indulged in the obligatory "How would my life be different if I'd known then what I know now?" navel-gazing. Aside from the gluten issue (which might not even have made a difference - I'm not sure exactly when I became allergic), I came to the same conclusion I always do: no matter what I went through in my past, suffering, betrayal, terrible mistakes, even crippling depression and despair, every goddamned minute of it (including the really truly horrible ones) is made up for by where I am now. If changing my past and alleviating some of my pain then meant trading in what I have now for some uncertain future, I wouldn't do it.

Happy birthday, hon. Welcome to the future. :)
From:(Anonymous)
Date:July 20th, 2007 07:36 pm (UTC)

HAPPY HAPPY 30TH BIRTHDAY

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Reaching another decade has, not surprisingly, connected you with the "reality" of one's mortality. Consider it a blessing for death only sweetens life and vice versa! Know also that there is most definitely a God ruling us and that there is a plan for us all; we will remain on Planet Earth until our job is done and not one minute sooner. In your case I totally believe that you were born with unusual intelligence,empathy, and talents and that your mission is far from complete. One form of maturity takes many years to achieve. Contributing to/effecting a positive change in the universe may very well take many more years. (perhaps in the area of writing) Hopefully in that time you will will also grow spiritually to the point where you will follow The Path...His Path. Then you will experience one of the biggest blessings: to be at peace knowing that earthly desires will fade in comparison to being replaced by anticipation for the "next chapter".
Many many happy returns.
With love,
H.S. (I defer to the Holy Spirit, who works through all of us)
From:halyn
Date:July 21st, 2007 12:26 am (UTC)
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Happy Birthday!

I often think, when celebrating a birthday, that it's not so much about celebrating that specific day, but all the person has accomplished. How they have grown and changed, what they have made of the years they have had. It's a time to take a look back and evaluate.

I'm thrilled you can look back and be so happy with what you've seen and done and been. You deserve it. Here's hoping for many good years of the same :}
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From:packbat
Date:July 21st, 2007 02:24 pm (UTC)
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I feel like I should be saying "congratulations", more than "happy birthday". May your next thirty be as good as your last!
From:lhexa
Date:July 21st, 2007 05:31 pm (UTC)
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In a healthier humanity thirty would be about the time you could consider yourself an adult. Congratulations on the milestone, even if its significance and/or scale are in dispute. :P
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From:hislittlekitty
Date:July 22nd, 2007 08:41 pm (UTC)
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For some reason this didn't show up on my friends page when it was supposed to (*Grr*)

All the same, hope it was a good Birthday :)
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From:baxil
Date:July 23rd, 2007 04:40 pm (UTC)
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The day itself sucked -- a 10-hour workday stacked on top of 16 the night before. :-p But I had a nice, laid-back weekend to make up for it, and good food.
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