I originally wrote this on March 19th, 2007, two days before I turned thirty….

On Wednesday, I will be 30 years old. So here’s a preemptive warning to stay off my lawn.

Does this mean I’m any closer to being seen as wise? Probably not. I guess I’m kind of in an in-between age where those who are in their middle age still see me as a younger, foolhardy person and those who are in their teens or twenties see me as an out-of-touch oldie who’s trying to masquerade as someone who’s hip. Since I just used the word “hip” they could certainly use that to indict me. The truth is that I AM younger than some and take calculated risks that I think others would shy away from. And also don’t give a rip about what the younger set thinks is cool. I played the Chukker, I’ve been in love in Paris, and I own a sweet denim jacket. So I will viscerally assert my coolness in the face of an MTV that shows no music videos and a pop culture where conformity is the new rebellion. News flash: cool does not result from one part Hollister, one part Gadzooks, one part Chacos – purchase, rinse and repeat. Again, you kids better stay off of my lawn!

A year ago, my uncle Mit died much too early for me to be OK with that fact. I’ve never felt anger towards God for this. I did feel a sadness for my cousins and my aunt. There were so many moments that were taken away from their future when he died. But my uncle lived a life fully dedicated to serving God by serving others. A lot of people are going live a lot longer than Mit but accomplish a great deal less in their time on this earth. What did he accomplish? He preached the Gospel. He built affordable homes and he grew community gardens. Those are accomplishments that are worthy of a faithful servant.

So I’m about to turn 30. Doing the math on my calculator, I’d say about about 3-5% of my life so far has been used for a greater good. Here’s to making up for lost time. Here’s to chalking up those wandering years of my late teens and twenties as an investment in crossing off a great many things from my mental list of what is truly important in life. Every year it is a little less likely that I’ll make my millions, play in the Super Bowl or record a Grammy-winning duet with Michael McDonald. And by no means will I be selling off all of my possessions or moving to India. But there are a great many things that I can do.

My uncle has gone home. I’m here. We’re all on our way home but nobody knows exactly when we’ll leave here. We can stand around and wait or keep ourselves occupied or…

“You’re alive. Do something. The directive in life, the moral imperative was so uncomplicated. It could be expressed in single words, not complete sentences. It sounded like this: Look. Listen. Choose. Act.”
– Barbara Hall