Birthday: Hanging Around

An oft-repeated quote in the house these days comes from Rounders (and here). Near the end of his final showdown with Mike McDermott (Matt Damon) with just a few chips left, Teddy KGB (John Malkovich) tells his henchman that he’s, “Hanging around. Hanging around.”

I’ve been feeling like that for some time now. At the cusp of 30, I look back on the years since I graduated from high school or college and I’m stunned at how quickly it went by. You would think 4 years at University would be a long time (and it is), but it seems like a blur. Winter Quarter at Stanford is coming to an end… which means the end of the year is only 3 months away!

I can see how people in their 40’s and 50’s develop mid-life crises. They wake up one day and wonder, “What the hell have I done with my life?” I think this is at the root of the popularity of Coppola’s Lost in Translation. There’s this huge world in front of me, yet all I know is what I’ve experienced in my little bubble of a world. When the bubble burst, I saw a lot of my friends (and my friends’ friends) go through their own mid-mid life crises. Some went back to school, others traveled around the world, and some changed careers. I’ve been fortunate enough to have done a number of things in many different areas: photography, engineering, clubs and organizations, and academia. I feel like there’s pressure to decide what to do next, and I can’t decide. In the past, I’ve decided not to decide and continue doing what I’ve been doing — a lot of things. Birthdays are always a good time to reflect upon one’s life, and I wonder if that’s been the right decision.

“The kid’s got alligator blood. I can’t shake him.” That feels like the impending turn of the clock to 30. I feel like I’m on the pull-up bar with strength enough for only one more. The arms start shaking and you start wondering if you can do one more. You also start thinking that it’ll be okay if you just stop and rest. Shake away that thought and go all in.

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