As I Age (34 or…)

This past week has brought home to me the things that I really enjoy. I–of course–love my kids to no end; I am talking here about hobbies. Arriving a trifle early for a conference in San Antonio I hit a park to do some birding. I have not been birding in almost a year. I forgot how much I enjoy it. I even saw a Golden-Cheeked Warbler. My great regret is that neither my wife or my boys share my passion for birding. In fact, the only person who seems to dig it as much as I do is my brother (or at least he humors me) and he is in the UK. I remember fondly a trip we all took to visit my Ma and Sis in CA and he and I spent the whole trip birding. Oh well, I will see him and the whole family this August as we return to the west coast.

The second thing that reminded me of the things I love was a delivery. I got a banjo in the mail after having been without one for well over a year. I had sold my last banjo to concentrate on mandolin. What was I thinking? There is nothing I have found that produces sheer joy–for me–more than picking a banjo. In my youth I aspired to be a rock star. As fun as that was, I never enjoyed the instrument I played as much as I enjoy playing the banjo. As my wife commented when I got my first one, it is eerie how natural I looked and felt with the banjo around my neck.

So, all of this to lead to the observation that I will fit in quite well when I hit 60+ and find myself in a retirement community sitting on the porch picking my banjo w/ my binos by my side ready to site that elusive species that never made it on my long lifelist. My wife refers to my interests as the b’s: birding, banjos (or bluegrass), books, and baseball (she often adds boring). One thing that I love about my late 20s and now my 30s is the unapologetic embrace of things that interest me without any concern w/ what is “cool”.  Though I claimed to go through my teens and 20s w/ no concern for–and a shunning of all things defines as–“cool”, I was very much concerned with a type of “cool” independent of the mainstream but a “coolness” nonetheless (ENOUGH W/ THE QUOTATION MARKS).   Now, in full embrace of my sheer geekiness, I realize the importance of everyone defining for themselves what is and is not (one more set) “cool”.

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