My Mom sent me an e-mail this morning that began, “I know what I was doing 40 years ago. I also know what you were doing, probably crying. Well, we both made it this far.”

I have mixed feelings about reaching the big four-oh. On the one hand I lead a comfortable life, I enjoy my job, I have a great girlfriend, great friends, and more to do with my time than I have time. And I still have all my fingers.

On the other hand, the older I get the more I feel like certain things are slipping away from me. It’s unlikely I’ll have a significant writing career at this point (and there’s a whole post I could do about my writing skills, aspirations, and failures), and I regret that my drawing skills have lain fallow over the last 15 years.

Of course, there are also things that I feel like I “should” have done, such as travelled more widely, but I don’t really regret not having done because they’re not things I’m really into.

Age 40 is something of a landmark age: If you haven’t had kids yet and want to, you’re probably thinking seriously about getting moving on it. On the other hand, if you had kids in your early 20s, then they’re starting to head off to college around this time. 40 is an upper bound for even most world-class athletes to compete at the highest level, so what about the rest of us? Not to mention that in past centuries, many people were lucky even to make it this far. Those factors, combined with it being a round number which our monkey-brains like to treat as something special, make this birthday a little melancholy for me.

But I really shouldn’t be gloomy about it, because really things are pretty good. Turning 30 seems like it was a long time ago now, so I have lots of time ahead of me, too. And maybe I’ll get to some of that stuff over the next decade.

Plus, I managed to keep my birthday under wraps and it looks like I’ll escape being suddenly embarrassed by all my cow-orkers today, the way we embarrassed my friend James on his last birthday. Thank goodness!

Sure I wouldn’t mind being 30 again. But this ain’t bad.

Mini-Birthday Party

I decided not to throw myself a full birthday party this year. With everything I’ve been doing, I just felt like chilling this weekend and watching the football playoffs rather than putting in the effort to host a party. (Maybe when it gets warmer I’ll throw a “just for the heck of it” party.)

However, since my birthday fell on Wednesday this year, last night a bunch of us gathered at Subrata and Susan’s house for gaming night, and Debbi went by the Prolific Oven and picked up a couple of my favorite cakes, as well as ice cream. Chad’s wife Camille brought some homemade ice cream as well. Ten people showed up and we polished off most of the cake.

I bought a copy of Blokus a week ago, having enjoyed playing it on New Year’s, and I brought that along and we played a round before cake. Despite having not played it before, Chad ended up running away with the game, making some excellent blocking moves. (I came in third, not being helped by the fact that the other three players all seemed to make blocking me out a priority. I do well at seeing available moves, but I don’t have the blocking part of the game down.)

After cake we played a game of Union Pacific, which I often term “The best game I own that Subrata doesn’t also own.” I somehow managed to pick up the majority stake in the Union Pacific “super-railroad”, which ended up being enough to claim overall victory despite Chad making a late run and nearly catching me. The final scoring-round card ended up being on the very bottom of the deck, probably making this the longest UP game we’ve played. Nonetheless it’s still a nifty game in that it only took 2 hours for us to finish (maybe less).

Susan also gave me a birthday present: A print of a painting in a series by Sarah Clemens, who is doing a series (and writing a book) about a couple raising a cat and a dragon together. (Specifically, they gave me a copy of Shaking Hands. They have a copy of Joyride themselves.) I’ll have to frame it and put it up.

This was just the sort of birthday party I wanted this year, something low-key and simple with my friends. I’ve thanked Debbi repeatedly for putting it together. I really appreciated it.

Another Trip Around the Sun Completed

Today I’m 39 years old!

Where does the time go?

For my birthday, Debbi bought me a Mosquito RC helicopter, which I spent some time flying around last night. Roulette and Newton were both fascinated by it. I managed to get it hovering pretty good, but wasn’t so good at moving it where I wanted it to go. Practice practice! I’m impressed with how long a charge of its battery pack lasts – it gave me a good long time to figure out some of the basics (like “don’t run into the ceiling”).

Dad, meanwhile, bought me the James Bond Ultimate Collector’s Set, which will keep me busy for a while. Plus, now I can finally see the two Pierce Brosnan Bond films I haven’t yet seen in their entirety!

Turning 39 doesn’t feel much different from those other late-30s years. We’ll see how I feel when I turn 40. Mostly I think I should go to Hawaii or something for my 40th, since I have some friends who are already 40 who have been marking the days until they can give me a hard time on my own 40th. So it’d be good to escape from all that! 🙂


If it’s January 16, then I must be another year older! I turn 38 today, which is probably more amazing to only my parents than it is to me!

20 years ago I was mid-way through my senior year of high school. 16 years ago today the US launched Operation Desert Storm, thus making me profoundly worried that we’d institute a draft and I’d end up in the armed forces (it’s hard to imagine a career with which I’d be less well matched). 8 years ago I was more-or-less on the path to coming to California to work at Apple. Did I expect to still be there 8 years later? I probably didn’t think about it that way at the time.

This year seems to be off to a good start: I’ve been feeling generally upbeat and in an unusually silly range of moods (even for me). I must be feeling pretty comfortable with where my life is these days, and what I’m doing with it. You can’t put a price tag on that!