Reflections on Turning 32

Up to a certain point in my life, every birthday carried the thought “This one could be my last.”

Then came a point–definitely 25, but maybe a few years earlier–where the psychological impetus shifted from “I may not have another birthday” to “Look how far I’ve made it.” Ironically, this year, when the health circumstances ought to be towards the former (2 aneurysms, mysterious growth on the lung, etc.), I am feeling more the latter.

I know for certain that I’m here at God’s discretion. It all happens in His time. It would be nice to get into a one story house, so our day to day funcationality could be better, but I know I’ve been profoundly blessed.

I’m very grateful for all the blessings in my life: the Sacraments, obviously. My family, my parents, my wife, my kids. I’m grateful for the blessings of the past year, particularly my new motorized wheelchair and lift van, which have done so much for my quality of life.

Mary’s uncle Lewis, one of the namesakes of this site, used to say 32 was his favorite age. There’s definitely something in between about it. Kind of like the opposite of Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome. Characters on soap operas–particularly the long runnning ones, are notorious for growing rather quickly–going from newborn to high school in about 10 years. Then, after spending anywhere from 5 to 10 years as a “teenager” and “young adult,” (depending upon recasts), a character hits “30-ish”, and, once a character hits middle age, there’s a kind of plateau.

One thing that strikes me about this birthday, though, is not the age so much as the year. Ten years ago was May 1999. Star Wars Episode I. The
Deep Space Nine finale. Seeing Sunset Boulevard in Atlanta. I had just finished my first semester of my MA studies.

In the summer of 1997, a year after my heart surgery, my cardiologist found 2 leaks around the stitches of my artificial valve. I “laid low” for a year, but, a year later, the leaks were worse. I was expecting a similar result.

But, in May 1999, Dr. Stavrou walked into the office, with his jaw hanging down, and said, “They healed!” Scar tissue grew around the holes. It seemed like a new lease on life.

It was.

May 1999 was also the month I signed up for Single Catholics Online. Dec. 1999, I found Mary.

It’s been a great ten years.

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