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It was the Autumn of ’69…

By Brian | November 18, 2009 | Share on Facebook

Here’s how the last few months of 1969 went: On October 16th, the New York Mets won the World Series. And as if that wasn’t crazy enough, thirteen days later, a couple of computer geeks in California connected two computers together using a brand new network called ARPANET (which, despite popular myth, does not stand for the Al Gore Really Planned it All NETwork). ARPANET would later turn into a pretty successful project known as the Internet. Twelve days after ARPANET, a cute little children’s television show called Sesame Street debuted on public television. And eight days after that, I was born. Not a bad couple of months, I think…

So, on this, the occasion of my fortieth birthday, the traditional thing to do would be to consider all of the things I had planned to do by the time I was forty, sum up my regrets and failures, wallow in a pool of self-pity, and whip up a respectable midlife crisis, complete with the irresponsible purchase of a completely impractical sports car. Or, as my nine year-old put it the other day, “Daddy, most people die in their eighties, so you’re halfway done!”

The thing is, I have no memories of making grandiose plans for my milestone birthdays as a kid. I have a vague memory of computing how old I would be in the Year 2000 (thirty-one!) and marveling both at how far away the Year 2000 seemed and how old “thirty-one” sounded, but that’s about as close as I came.

So, it would seem, I’m left without the necessary ingredients to make a good crisis. Instead, this seems like a pretty good time to review the decade of my life that will forever be known as “my thirties.”

The first and most obvious difference between 11/18/99 and 11/18/09 is the presence of my two wonderful children, Avery and Brandon. To consider that when I turned thirty, neither of them were in my life is to realize just how long a decade it has been. Their growth from infants into happy and enthusiastic young boys colors every single memory I will ever have of my thirties, and makes the rest of my life before that pale in comparison. Which is, of course, exactly as it should be.

The rest of the family has had a good decade as well. Since that day, ten years ago, there have been various new nieces, nephews, and cousins born, and all the celebrations that come with all of that. And with the sad exception of my wife’s grandfather, everyone who was around for my thirtieth birthday is still alive and kicking on my fortieth. Again, I am truly blessed.

Speaking of blessings, I consider the party my wife threw me on my 30th birthday, and the various celebrations that have occurred over the past few weeks for my 40th. Many of the friends who attended back in 1999 had some part to play in 2009, and while there are some who are no longer in touch, there are many more whom I didn’t know then, but consider good friends today. No disrespect to Facebook, of course, but I can tell you without looking it up that my list of actual friends continues to grow unabated.

Other aspects of my life have progressed in similarly gratifying ways – my career has advanced nicely, we’ve significantly upgraded our home and I’ve got some shiny new toys that weren’t even invented when I turned thirty.

So, color this forty year-old content. All I need now is a song from some childhood friends:

Ah yes, that hits the spot…

Topics: Family Matters | 3 Comments »

3 Responses to “It was the Autumn of ’69…”

  1. Janet says at November 18th, 2009 at 1:22 am :
    Good for you, Brian. All birthdays are good – they’re all better than the alternative – and they are a fantastic opportunity to realize just how much we have to be thankful for.
    Happy Birthday indeed.

  2. Ilya says at November 18th, 2009 at 11:00 am :
    Happy Birthday, Brian! Till 120! You’re only a third done.

  3. jason says at November 18th, 2009 at 7:14 pm :
    Happy birthday, Brian, sincerely. As one who followed the more traditional path you outlined above (minus the irresponsible purchase of a completely impractical sports car, since I already owned one), I am impressed with your brio and aplomb on this momentous occasion. If only I’d thought to look up some Bert and Ernie clips…

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