The past year, especially the past six months, have revealed sides of me I didn't necessary want to know about. A slightly fuller range of emotions and a slightly fuller range of experiences up until today, which marks the end of one decade and the start of another. My girlfriend and I will celebrate it quietly by re-watching episodes of a certain science fiction TV thriller she has yet to catch up on.

In the past year of reflection I haven't come up with anything resembling a 5-year plan. Instead of retirement objectives, I've a better sense of who I am. Instead of setting big goals for the rest of my life, I made small changes. Small changes like acknowledging that biking to work is the form of exercise that gives me the most satisfaction, helping solve two problems--weight stagnation and mental sluggishness--that irk more than plague. It's not social like basketball (my true love) or dragon boating or floorball. It gets me somewhere, up and down hills and past soccer pitches and baseball fields and cars and, more dishearteningly, other cyclists whizzing by. No longer do I type two spaces after a sentence. I don't buy fancy coffee anymore, partaking only when it's free and only often enough, not too often. Ice cream only consumed outside the house, that is, no containers of it allowed in the freezer anymore. A smarter routine at work, finding its way into my personal life (why is it hardly ever the other way around?), which means less social media during the day. It works out: I'm looking forward to the era of social media divestiture anyway.

Today, when other thirtysomethings welcomed me to the club, I joked that now I have to spend the next 30 years undoing the damaged caused by the first 30 years. That's a joke at my own expense, among the many bad habits not yet discarded, and really, my life up until this point has been easier than I'd like to admit. If daily urgency at work, as opposed to the weekly urgency of months past, is an unwelcome if necessary change, then I need to assert my right to relaxation to ease the belly stress. More swimming in the pool, going out less, working out with a physical destination rather than a number on a scale in mind, and more Sunday brunches on Commercial Drive are included in the self-prescribed remedy.

It doesn't feel like thirty, yet. Maybe, as one person already suggested today, I just need practice.


Hi Richard, All the best on the conclusion of your third decade. An honest self assessment. Looks like you are pleased with your progress and have recognized that life is a continuous process of learning and changes. Enjoy that new decade ahead of you.

Thanks, Anne. Yesterday reminded me of how many people loved me, something which humbled me and made me feel honoured. It gave me perspective on birthdays, which in the past I never really thought much of. To me they're the anniversary of when my father became a father, when my mother became my mother, and my sister became my sister. (Since my brother was born after me, that's the anniversary he became my brother.) Thanks mostly to Facebook, people knew it was my birthday. My life is the type of busy I never thought it would be, so I"m grateful for the people who remembered me for, some for a few minutes and others for a bit longer. They deserve more of my time, because I love them more than they could possibly know. Even though I celebrated it quietly, I'll long remember this birthday.

Considering that I am not on Facebook (yet I do read your blog) I am ashamed that I didn't congratulate you personally on your birthday. My brain was, definitely, scattered and for that, I apologize. I wish you all the best in the next decade. Remember, 40 is the new 30, so you're just in your 20s now then :-) It was great to see you and Karen yesterday and I really hope you enjoyed your birthday. By the sounds of your writing (reflective and introspective) it sounds like you've thought a lot about yourself and the kind of man you are and you want to be. That is a great sign of maturity. All the best always! Raul

I've thought a lot about myself, and I've probably spent too much time "cultivating my mind" instead of letting go and having fun. It's been easier to let go lately. It's always good to see you, Raul. I know your brain was scattered last night, since there was a lot going on. We'll have smaller get-togethers like we had for ice cream a little while ago too.