I turn 28 years old.
Another Year on the Run – Vagabond Turns 28 years old:
“How old are you this year?” Chaya’s mother asked me.
I had to do the math.
There comes a point in anyone’s life where birthdays really do not matter anymore. As I turn the key to end my 28th year, I feel as if I am looking over the same uniform plain. I feel as if I have crossed the threshold of life where time is no longer measured in years, but decades.
I turned 28 years old on May 23.
“The only time you really live fully is from thirty to sixty. The young are slaves to dreams; the old servants of regrets. Only the middle-aged have all their five senses in the keeping of their wits,” Teddy Roosevelt once said.
I am now angling towards the mid section of living. I am now on top of the wave that I will ride to my ending shore — and I like where everything is going.
But I must I note here for any further temporal references: this was the first birthday that I did not wake up jumping excited for.
I think this must indicate that I am all grown up, or some other such nonsense.
28 is the same as 27 is the same as 29 and on and on until you croak.
With a tongue stuck in my cheek, I must proclaim that the days of birthday excitement are perhaps over for this vagabond — he is now a friggin’ procreating a-dult.
Something weird is going on.
Though at least I am still privy to birthday parties:
On the Trenton coast of Maine across from Arcadia, I had a regular ol’ birthday party with Chaya’s family.
It was a grown up affair, through one that I packed deep down into some inner pocket of feeling: Chaya’s family really likes me and seem to be happy that I am joining their clan.
These people truly are some odd characters.
I write a travelogue entry each year on my birthday as sort of a yearly status report. For my last two birthdays, I wrote about the exciting prospects of becoming a MAN, of feeling at ease in the traveling life, and of finding the initial glimmers of what I am looking for.
For this birthday, I must record the onset of carpal tunnel syndrome in my left wrist.
I suppose I am now on the inside track of becoming a MAN: aches, pains, wife, kid, I now have it all.
Perhaps this is not the fruition of the romance of aging that I saw coming last year:
“Through growing up and getting “old,” I have learned how to smile,” I wrote.
Perhaps this year I am leaning towards the mantra that my father sings every year on his birthday:
“Getting old sucks.”
I am on the inside of this journey now — I know what I doing, where I am going. I have grown use to my own surprises. The roof has now been laid upon the hut, and I moved right in.
I grumble, but, as is so often the case, my grumblings are for the purpose of shining light on a phenomenon that I am satisfied with.
Another year went by, another year on the run.
I am still smiling.
I jest, but I really look forward to each birthday and of filing away the additional trials, experiences, and wisdom of another year of wandering — another year of living the life Romantic.
Each birthday is a bookmark on the journey towards learning a little bit more about myself and the world around me.
With each tick off of the birthday clock, I know that I am progressing further down The Road, and I’m ever becoming more equipped to keep going.
Birthdays are signposts of achievement for travelers — as travel is ultimately about one thing: the acquisition of knowledge in relation to time and space.
Woodblock print of Wade by Justin Catania
About the Author: VBJ
I am the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. I’ve been traveling the world since 1999, through 90 countries. I am the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China and have written for The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. VBJ has written 3657 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.
VBJ is currently in: Astoria, New York
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