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Now We Are 30

This is my first contribution to this blog so perhaps I should introduce myself. I am Blake. You have likely heard a lot about me by following Hannah’s posts or following OBI in one of its many manifestations, but you don’t hear a lot from me. I tend to avoid webby business, letting Hannah revel in her role as our web and social media director. I thought today though would be a nice occasion to say hello myself.

Today is my 30th birthday. In some ways I have been dreading this day for a very long time. The men in my family tend not to live too long, so 30 is always celebrated as our Over the Hill b-day. Being 30 also implies to the rest of the world that, for all intents and purposes, I am a grown-up. My family has always rejected growing up on principle, seeing that moniker as surrendering our creativity. Mature, maybe. Responsible, definitely. Grown-up, never.

I also can’t help but look at my dad and compare my current life with his when he was my age. When my father was 30, he had two sons, a mortgage, and a respectable design job. I have a brand-spanking new wife, a master’s degree that left me with +30K in college loans, and three jobs. My two teaching jobs will hopefully lead to the elusive full-time professorship, but it’s my cooking gig that pays the bills. I am artistically satisfied, known and maybe loved by my peers, and happier than I can reasonably expect to be, but it’s hard not to feel like I’m a little behind my pa in the kicking off my life department. I am anxiously/cautiously looking forward to settling into a life with a family and only one career to devote myself to.

I woke up this morning feeling pretty great. I don’t feel 30. I certainly don’t look it. It seems like I age so that my folks can feel older. Only when I talk to my younger co-workers or my students do I feel my age. I have a young woman in my printmaking class who was born the day Kurt Cobain killed himself! These kids missed the Reagan years and the H.W. Bush years too! I could go on, but I would only sound like a grumpy old man. Grumpy, maybe. Old, not yet.

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