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5 Realizations Upon Turning 30 Today

I don't worry about aging. I worry about America winning in the next Big War so I'll be able to transfer my consciousness into a digital body, transcending death to live with my family forever.

Dave Swindle


January 29, 2014 - 8:15 am
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1. I need to be a father someday.

Ben Shapiro is the newest of my friends to join the parenthood club. I’m so thrilled for him and his wife. They’re going to love that little girl so much and just create the most extraordinary human being.

For most of my life I was agnostic on the parenthood question — it was largely a reflection of an agnosticism about, well, everything. A child was such a permanent decision, a no-going-back choice in which one decided that another’s life would come before your own.

What changed? What caused the light switch to flip over from the wobbly, maybe-kids-some-day, to YES, I have a responsibility and a need to become a parent? Finding the woman I wanted to spend the rest of my life with was only step one. There was another big change that had to happen:

I don’t hate myself anymore.

I think that’s what was really at the heart of not wanting to have children. People who see themselves as a broken ball of neuroses don’t want to compound their misery by spawning miniature versions of themselves who will likely be even worse than they are.

But now I know better than on January 29, 2004 when I was a postmodern progressive undergraduate writing columns praising Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry. I know that there’s no reason to ever hate yourself because we’re all capable of transforming ourselves. We’re not hardwired or stuck with anything about ourselves. All problems have their solutions and we can become happier, more productive, better people if that is what we choose.

I want to raise sons and daughters someday who can know that from the beginning — that they are smart enough and strong enough to solve any problem they encounter themselves and they do not need to vote for some emotion-manipulating demagogue to pass a program like Obamacare so they can be free.

I wish I’d seen this classic Disney cartoon “Chicken Little” over and over again as a kid instead of ninja turtle toy commercials disguised as entertainment. I wasted so much of my 20s dealing with one fox after another:

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I wish you a long and happy life. For myself, I am in the minority--I have absolutely no desire to live to 100 or beyond. I am 51 now and beginning to feel ever second of my age. Normal activities, while still enjoyable, come with a constant cost. My body aches doing things that used to come effortlessly. I can only imagine that, should I live to 125, it will be exponentially worse.

Far beyond the physical is the emotional. My father, who lived to be 84, outlived every single one of his friends. He saw two wives die before him as well as all his cousins and childhood friends. By the end, even the loss of his beloved cat was devastating, as he felt the ties that bound him to humanity severed one by one.

I have a wonderful wife and family, a beautiful home and a rewarding job. Still, I cannot imagine going to work every day until I am 115 (that would be 100 years in the workforce for me) and watching those around me vanish one by one. No, give me the biblically ordained "three score years and ten" and let me move on.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I hope by the time you are that old you have many things in your life that inspire you to want to keep on living.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Happy birthday !

1 year ago
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