So I’m 30 now. Been here for a couple weeks. Meant to write one of those “big-zero year” updates, and procrastinated until my brother’s birthday …. kinda odd coincidence.
Anyway, so I’m 30 now. As of turning 30, I hit pretty much the low point in my fitness level, which is fairly scary. I got to the point that walking a mere 2 mile moderately-hilly walk was hard work. My 27-year-old self would be ashamed.
I started exploration of wines in earnest on my 29th birthday, so this seems to be a pretty good point to look back on it and reflect on a year as a wine-drinker. I’m no afficionado yet, but I’ve probably averaged a bottle a week, give or take. I’ve tried various vintages of pinot noir, pinot grigio, merlot, cabernet sauvignon, burgundy, shiraz, chardonnay, champagnes of various styles, port, sherry. I’ve had wine that’s come from Italy and France and Australia, and a lot that’s come from Napa and Sonoma, and some from Virginia. My palate is a bit unrefined, so on some of the more delicate wines (pinot noir, I’m looking at you…) I think I probably miss the point a bit, but I love me a good bold peppery olive-and-berry shiraz, and have found a couple of go-to wines that usually make me pretty happy to be drinking them. I’ve also figured out my hangover threshold and ways to consistently avoid hangovers, which helps a lot. The most expensive bottle I’ve drunk in the last year was in the mid-$20 range, while the cheapest was probably about $6 on a very good sale.
In other fronts, I got the promotion I was hoping for at work. I’m now at the highest level that I can be at without managing other people. I am honestly stretched a little thin, but not being hit with anything I feel like I can’t handle, just maybe more of it than I can do in any given day. My oddball work schedule seems to both help and hurt that … I tend to wake up in the 8:30-9:30 range, take a shower and make it to work around 11, work until sometime between 6 and 9 depending on the day and my state of restfulness, and head home. That means I get about 5 to 6 hours of time when other people are around, and generally between 2 and 5 hours of time in any given day that I’m there solo. Sometimes my job requires interaction with people who’re on normal schedules, and other times the job requires that people stop pestering me, so when I can make it work it’s great, but sometimes I don’t end up getting to the “pick up the phone” part until after 5 when everyone else is gone, so I end up pushing stuff off a day or two (or indefinitely) due to the limited afternoon hours.
So one other problem with the oddball schedule is that it’s a bit self-perpetuating. Like an engine with warped crankshaft, or a washing machine with a brick tossed into it, my sleep and waking schedules are all over the place in unpredictable directions. Some nights I go to sleep at perfectly reasonable times and wake up at similarly reasonable times. Most nights I go to sleep 4 hours after a perfectly reasonable time for when I have to wake up, and end up running in 3 or 4 hours of sleep per night for several consecutive nights. It’s a bad pattern that I need to get in check, and I’m not so good at that.
Thinking about patterns, over the course of me being 29, I went on precisely one date. Part of that may be the scheduling, partly the fitness slide and associated reduced self-esteem. But then, I also realized, from that one date, that there’s such a thing as better off alone, and that it’s probably better to be single and career-focused than dating and focused on personal-life drama. Besides, I’m a guy, my biological clock is basically giving me another 15-20 years to reasonably start a family with the right girl, so I’m probably better getting my own house in order.
Still, it’d be good to have a drinking-buddy, right now the drinking is pretty much a solo affair, which limits my willingness to go too far with it. It perpetually rings in my mind…. drinking alone as the first sign of alcoholism… but as a bachelor with few drinking friends, I tend to find myself in the “go solo or abstain entirely” mode a lot.
I’ve been listening to a lot of audiobooks lately, as my last couple posts indicated. Got the whole audible “platinum” membership …. $23/mo for two download tokens, which are generally good for a book each. Some cheaper books (the sub-$11.50 ones), if I’m really interested, I just drop cash for, but with a recent “want to buy 3 more credits?” promo I’ve just gotten myself a nice backlog to listen through. I’ve gone through something like 22 full-length books in the 8 months or so I’ve been at it, with and I think the 3 book a month pace is probably going to hold out through the rest of the year and into next. With my lack of a good place to go and nest and read comfortably for hours, the audiobook thing has really picked up my consumption of intellectual material in general — I think in the 10 months before that, I made it through maybe three books, and a decent chunk of that progress was due to the work travel putting me on planes and in hotel rooms. So that’s a fairly positive change. I think this actually puts me at a higher consumption rate than I was at when I was working for CACI and spent 2 hours a day on the metro.
And now that audible’s released their android app (which does dramatically better than the pc version), my new phone has become my primary audio-listening station… meaning I can listen when I’m doing more repetitive/mindless stuff at work or when I’m out walking, which is helpful for both the listening and the walking.
Lots of other free time has been filled with supcom 2, then starcraft 2, then civ5, now back to starcraft 2. I’ve found that I’m an antisocial gamer … the hyper-competitive games in the rts world and the griefers in non-rts games pretty much kill their appeal to me entirely. I played some online Red Dead Redemption, and the only times I had any fun at all involved me playing at unusual times and finding the server I was on somewhere close to deserted. Even a while back when I played rockband and rockband 2 online a bit, it wasn’t really a good time.
On the political front, I think I’ve been slowly evolving further and further away from my parents for a while. My parents are both pretty conservative, and I guess I grew up in a pro-Bush(1), anti-Clinton, Christian-chauvinist household. In high school I read Atlas Shrugged, in early college I read The Fountainhead … I really bought into the libertarian romanticized capitalism ideal for a long time, but I’ve since kind of come to regard Rand’s work as beautiful romantic tableaux of precisely the way the world isn’t. Having watched the hypocrisy of conservatives, seen the true results of free markets run amok, and generally become more aware of the world around me, I’ve gone from a hereditary Christian center-right subscriber to a full-blooded center-left atheist. Which is probably convenient, given that I’m living in a very blue district of a very blue county of a pretty solidly blue state, and really really don’t like the sort of bullshit I’ve seen coming from the republican party as a whole these last couple of years.
Moving back to other less-internal topics, I’ve no longer got student loan debts. As of the 15th, I’ve paid off the student loans in full. I’m paid up on my car through January, which puts me at something like 3 months ahead. No credit card debt, and with the promotion came a comfortable raise that accelerated a lot of my financial goals a bit. At the same time, I’m thinking about pushing back against that by spending some of the newfound income on upgrades to my life as a whole … like new furniture, maybe a treadmill to keep the exercise up through the winter. Still, it’s a damned big milestone having college paid off, and I’m pretty happy to have met that one.
I guess what I’m saying is 29 was a somewhat off-balance year. I made big strides forward in my job, in my finances, in my situation as a whole, made some strides on my personal intellectual development, but pretty handily failed phys-ed and didn’t really join a whole lot of extra-curriculars or do much on the social front. I’m shooting for 30 being a fair amount more steady, with the goal of re-balancing the professional and the personal me. That’s it…. that’s my big-zero-year update.