Birthdays have almost never bothered me. I turned 30 with no angst and survived my 40th (black balloons from my wife and all black outfits worn by my kids notwithstanding!) just fine, thank you very much. In fact, the only birthday that has really given me pause was my 33rd, when my friend Jeff remarked, "33?! That's how old Jesus was when he died!" Kind of makes you wonder about how much you have really accomplished!
But suddenly, I am having some different thoughts about my age, and they are not caused by a birthday. Instead, these thoughts spring from the presidential campaign. On one hand is Barack Obama, who is three and a half years older than I am and has kids in the same age bracket as my two younger children. On the other side is Sarah Palin, who is less than a year older than I am.
Again, I am struck by wondering how much I have really accomplished.
Somehow, the presidency has always been for people at least a couple of generations ahead of me. Now, it is not anymore. Or at least it does not have to be.
My new boss is my age, more or less. And his new boss is my age, more or less. My church is searching for a pastor, and I face the very real possibility that my new pastor may turn out to be younger than I am.
I am not having a crisis about this. I am generally satisfied with where I am in life and what I still have left to do. But I am noticing.
The beard is coming in a little whiter than last fall. The knees creak a little bit more. Starting to work out again after taking some months off is a little harder this time than it was the last time. My high school class had its 25th reunion and my youth group had a reunion this spring (see my May 30 post), and I discovered that at least two of my contemporaries are grandparents.
Many of my favorite songs from high school now routinely play on the oldies station.
Again, no crisis... but I am noticing.
This is the best part of life, so far. My kids are growing and learning and becoming more and more fun, albeit more and more of a challenge. My abilities are solidifying into a set of strengths that I can use in a number of ways. My marriage is secure. My work is fulfilling. My service is varied.
But for the first time, I am starting to notice those numbers, and those aches, and those fleeting days.