In case you weren’t already aware, today is my birthday. I woke up this morning and figuratively scrawled one more tick-mark on the wall denoting the number of times I’ve managed to keep my seat on the Earth’s continual orbit around the sun. Last year, I believe I wrote something like three separate posts about the fact that my birthday was upon us. Then again, last year at this time I’d just recently challenged myself to write something more or less everyday; I was happy to have a topic to run on about for a few days.
I actually did go back and read the post from last year. In doing so, I found it a little strange that the single biggest thing I had to note about turning 37 was the realization that I couldn’t stay up as late. I mean, seriously? Isn’t a birthday supposed to be a time of celebration and deep reflection and stuff? Yet the best I could come up with was, “boy, I am sure do get more tired nowadays.”
Wow, check out all that illumination.
The thing is, though, I have a hard time reflecting on the dreaded getting older because for the most part, I have a hard time believing it’s true. Sure, my back is a little stiffer in the morning than it used to be, and I probably don’t have quite the stamina or overall physical prowess I once had. In other words, I guess I’m a little…um…softer around the middle than I used to be. Then again, I’ve never exactly been Mr. Universe.
Regardless, I still struggle with the realization that I’m almost 40. With the exceptions noted above, at 38 years old, I feel pretty much exactly the same way I did when I was 28. I’m still silly, sarcastic, and mostly good-natured, and have penchant for acting like a thirteen year-old whenever I hear a word that rhymes with “noob”. What I’ve come to understand than, is that, as humans, we do a poor job of tracking our progress through life by using our ages. Age is relative, varies greatly for each individual, and honestly is little more than what I described above: a measure of the numbers of times we’ve circled the sun.
So, how should we be marking our progress? Well, if you ask me (and let’s pretend you did), I would say we should be measuring our life experiences and what we’ve learned from them rather than how many years we managed to avoid being hit by a bus. In other words, Dungeons and Dragons got it right; it’s not age that makes a difference, it’s how many experience points (XP) we accrued on the last adventure.
What does that mean, then? Well, something like this: I’m Puddin, a 12th level Technogeek with secondary skills in Wordcraft that I’ve recently been leveling hardcore. I have an inherent +2 bonus to Intelligence and +1 to Constitution but a -1 modifier for Strength and -2 for Charisma. Over the course of the past decade, I’ve probably lost a Constitution point or two, but hopefully have replaced them with a Wisdom bonus and a bunch more XP. My latest adventures include a crusade to support the growth of craft beer in Cincinnati, hopefully to the benefit of the city as a whole. Surprisingly, that resulted in the use of my oft-neglected social skills, which means a slight increase in Charisma this year, enough at least that I was willing to invite a bunch of people I don’t know to come join me for a beer or two tonight.
Sure, I could just say that I turned 38 today, but it seems to me that the paragraph above does a whole lot better job of describing the past year of my life. And believe me, the past year really means a lot more to me than just the 365 days that comprised it.
Yeah, counting years is kind of pointless. We definitely ought to carry around a D&D-style stat sheet on the back our business cards.
What level are you?