I turned 33. It was a good birthday. My parents, one of my best friends and my girlfriend all took me to dinner at some point in the week. I got some cash, a copy of the “Walk The Line” DVD, the second season of “Arrested Development,” some comic books, some chocolate, a gift certificate for a massage, some cards, some e-mails and some phone calls. On Saturday I'm having a small party with some of my friends at a local bar.
See? Good birthday.
When I was a kid, turning 30-anything seemed an eternity away. Thirty was old. As recently as my early 20s, the idea of 30 seemed old. Now that I'm well and firmly into my 30s, it doesn't feel old anymore - until I start looking at it in context.
For instance, Brandon Routh, the guy they just hired to play the new Superman, is 27. That means I'm older than Superman. I should never, ever be older than Superman.
The other little thing that slams me with a little perspective is the fact that Jesus died at 33 - making me, right now, the same age as Jesus at the height of his ministry/fame. That's a little weird feeling. Older than Superman and the same age as Jesus.
In spite of those sorts of things, so far I've loved my 30s. They sure as heck beat my 20s.
When I initially turned 30, three years ago, it was a little rough. My wife and I had separated five days before my birthday. So, I was pretty upset. For some people, turning 30 by itself is kind of a downer. Imagine turning 30 while watching your marriage dissolve.
That sounds like I feel sorry for myself. Sorry, I really don't. It sucked, to be sure, but it wasn't all bad.
For my 30th birthday, I went with my parents to my brother's house. There, my nephews gave me a picture they'd drawn of me and a pair of boxers with the Patrick character from “SpongeBob SquarePants” on them. There's nothing like little kids giving you presents they made or picked out to kind of make you see the brighter side of your life.
Later that night, I called a bunch of my guy friends and arranged for us all to go out to dinner. While I was married, I had kind of neglected a lot of my male relationships, so this was an attempt to reconnect with them. I had a great night. And from there, I reconnected with some people who went on to become some of my best friends in the world - friends who walked with me through the first year as a divorcee, friends who listened to me whine and sob but also made me get out and have a good time. Thirty was a good year.
Compared to 30, 31 was kind of uneventful. No separations or divorces - all of that was already taken care of. I did some dating. I continued to hang out with my friends.
The only really big thing that came out of me being 31 was this column. So that's pretty big, I guess, because this column, in a lot of ways, represents the fulfillment of a dream of mine.
I hesitate to call myself a professional writer, because I'm not supporting myself with my writing. But at the very least, I no longer have to think of myself as an amateur. I really enjoy having this outlet every week. I enjoy the process. I enjoy seeing my stuff in print. And on the occasion that some of you have seen fit to drop me a line and let me know what you think of my stuff, I enjoy hearing from you. So, yeah, looking back, 31 was pretty nice.
Thirty-two seemed to last forever. It was a good year, but it was a long one. Thirty-two was the year that I learned to write inside of a deadline. Thirty-two was the year I started laying groundwork for a possible new career. Thirty-two was the year my best friend in the world moved out of town. And 32 was the year I started dating someone seriously.
Dating at 32 is different than dating in my teens or early 20s. I'm a lot more sure of what I want. I'm a lot more focused on the future. And I'd like to think that I'm a better boyfriend - that I've learned how to really contribute to the relationship in a positive way.
The girl I'm dating is incredible. If nothing else good happened while I was 32, meeting and falling in love with her would be enough to redeem all 365 days of that year.
So now, on to 33. What does this coming year of my life hold? I don't know. My plan is for it to be the year that I get out of debt, the year I dabble in self-publishing - and the year that Jessica Alba finally returns one of my damn letters.
I'll keep you all posted.
Patrick Drury can be contacted by e-mail at