Today I turn thirty-three.
In the spectrum of birthdays thirty-three is probably one of the least significant birthdays out there, you’re two years from turning thirty-five and three years into the dirty thirties and trying to figure out how to be a grown-up. Now on previous birthdays I’ve tried to conjuror up sage like advice from my own experience on this little rock in space. And I really thought about compiling a list of thirty tid-bits of advice, but being realistic I’m just not that original anymore. But since my last full rotation around the sun, I’ve had a minor epiphany of sorts about two things that I wish I wouldn’t have ignored in my naive 20s. Elements of life that I’ve rediscovered over the past year or so. So what better way to celebrate my birthday, then to share that same advice.
The first is something I’ve touched upon before, but make sure to do what you love or makes you happy regardless of the cultural stereotypes. Earlier this year I stumbled across two comic book stores a couple of blocks away from our new abode in Ottawa. Now before this year it had been almost 12-15 years since I stumbled into a comic book store, but I made a resolution this year to take more time for myself and change up life a bit. It also helped that my interest in comic books, wait … graphic novels, was revitalized by The Walking Dead TV show . I walked by it at least 20 times before mustering up the courage to walk in … you know, because everyone knows that comic book nerds are frightening and all. But after walking in I was instantly reminded of why I loved reading comic books as a pre-teen and it instantly revitalized my interest in the genre. Now In all honesty, I’m reading much more mature series, like The League of Extraordinary Gentleman (LXG), DMZ, and the surprisingly smart new Hawkeye series, but I started to remember how much I adored the simpleness of a sitting down to flip through a good comic-book… err… graphic novel.
Now I mention this because in my 20s I wouldn’t have been caught dead in comic book store. For no other reason then the idea that comic books aren’t something a grown man reads and frankly girls apparently don’t think comic books are cool. But now that I’ve already
lured tricked my wife into a life of blissful marriage, what’s really the harm. I kid of course, but to be honest it got me thinking about how ridiculous it was to ignore and suppress something I really enjoyed for a long period of time, solely because of a perception from my 20s. So my my first piece of sage like advice on my 33rd birthday, really isn’t that special, but if you love something, just embrace it — don’t hide it.
… Well except for magic cards and cheering for the oilers. Nobody plays magic cards or cheers for the oilers in their 30s…
Second, is the benefits of volunteering. Going back to my previous point, I’m no longer ashamed to admit that I was a boy scout for far too long. Up until my early 20s to be exact. But one of the things that being in the boy scouts for that amount of time ingrained in me was the concept of volunteering. Unfortunately, volunteering was something that I neglected for most of my 20s as I was chasing the next pitcher of beer or finding the latest band, or whatever it is you young whipper snappers do in your 20s nowadays… I think it’s duck face selfies… what ever that means.
But over the past two years, some of the most rewarding events, experiences and career milestones have come through volunteering my time with causes I adore. Whether it’s teaching high school kids Junior Achievement in DC, working the tables at WordPress Camp Ottawa, trying to build an iPhone App community through yycApps, helping out with the Green Party in Ottawa or just building a web site for Grow Calgary, Unrest Magazine, and 1CalgaryCentre. I’ve achieved more personal and professional growth and met some amazing people through volunteering my time and experiences than I have through anything else I’ve done in my career. And if you think about it, most of the world’s most successful people are the ones that constantly lend a hand to causes they believe in. For me not only has volunteering helped me grow as an individual, but it’s also allowed me to expand my network circle and experience different situations which have made every day life that much better. So in a nut shell, it’s one thing to do something, but it’s another thing to actually be apart of something.
And with those two tid bits to ponder form this old fossil, I leave you with Taylor Swift’s “Trouble” sung by a goat. Because it’s the world’s greatest thing.
Have a great day everyone.
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