As I write this I’m sitting inside Central Perk, a coffee shop off of Main Street in Newark, Delaware.
Twenty years ago this coming spring, I graduated from the University of Delaware with a degree in history.
Twenty years ago.
It’s weird, the way time works. I’m 41, though I don’t feel 41. Or, to be honest, maybe I do feel 41. Perhaps there’s no actual feeling to 41. Or 61. Or 81. We always say, “I don’t feel X age,” as if there’s an expected attached feeling. I know I have two kids, a wife, two cars, a mortgage, a dog—maybe those are the things that make one feel 41. Or, maybe 41 feels a certain way, and being a sandal-wearing, Starbucks-lingering book writer hasn’t given me that weight. Maybe 41-year-old lawyers and doctors and bank employees feel the advancement of the age. I don’t.
That said, tonight I addressed a room of journalism students. I told them about John Rocker and Gary Sheffield and Newsday and SI and the World Series and a genuine love for writing. I also spoke—briefly—about age. “You look at me, and you think the road from there to here is long,” I said. “But it’s not. You’ll snap your fingers, look up and you’ll be 41. So do something that fills those years with passion and excitement and joy.”
I don’t have much great advice to offer people. Cover your head in the cold. Coffee makes you poop. Sing with your eyes closed. Watch Orange is the New Black. Again, not much. I have, however, thought much about time, and the passage of time, and how we jump from year one to year six to year 18 to year 56 in the blink of the blink of the blink of the blink of an eye. It just soars past—but, I truly believe, it soars past a tiny bit slower if you’re present and aware and blissfully involved in something you love. I’m not always great at this, but I try and press the pause button; to stop and realize how blessed I am. To be here. In the moment. Writing. Parenting. Sipping from a cup of coca. Whatever.
Maybe, as you’re reading this, it’s 2113—and I’m long dead.
It goes fast.