Well it’s official…I am no longer in my 20s.

First of all, MJ’s mystery behavior was for a reason. A surprise party. She planned the whole thing out in advance and even enlisted the help of my work friends to get me the day off, have someone cover my Saturday shift, etc. I went to work like usual on Saturday night for the first two hours of my shift. Then, around 5:30, my editor got a phone call and got all excited. Apparently Vice President Joe Biden was having a drink at the Irish pub directly across the street. Biden, Oprah, Stevie Wonder and tons of other celebrities were in town for Eunice Kennedy’s funeral so this kind of made sense. But when I went over to check it out all of my family and friends were there.

It was really great and it meant a lot to me. But what really got me was the gift from my brother and his girlfriend Melissa.

I opened up his gift to find a book. My book, to be exact. He took it upon himself to turn the first year of Daddy Files into a book complete with cover, table of contents, etc. And he wrote a personal message on the front page that brought tears to my eyes. It was the most thoughtful gift I have ever received and it was really cool to see one year of my life in book form. I haven’t stopped thumbing through it since Saturday. I was pretty hungover yesterday, but managed to hold it together and spend the day with my family.

This morning I’m at my parents’ house with Will and my mom, and I’m left to reflect on my life thus far. And when I think back on my 20s, I am absolutely astounded at where I was compared to where I’m at now. And I honestly don’t think there will be a bigger decade of transition ever again in my life.

Turning 20 meant I was still in college. I got my first cell phone 10 years ago for my 20th birthday and I was gearing up to be an RA in the freshmen dorms. I was head over in heels in love with a girl I was sure I would marry, and the ironic part is the girl I actually did marry was right around the corner from me at school.

My early 20s were a dysfunctional blur as I could legally drink in bars. Unfortunately, my transcendence to the legal drinking age coincided with the girl I loved breaking my heart. Two years of drunkenness, debauchery and general idiotic behavior ensued. Even though I had my first job, good friends and supportive family, I was a complete mess.

The silver lining of this time was the Patriots Super Bowl win which I will remember always. Then a few years later the Red Sox broke the Curse and the Golden Era of Boston sports was in full swing. I was living in Boston and I was still a mess. I didn’t know any longer where one night of drinking ended and where the hair of the dog in the morning began. I lived for the weekend and partying with my roommates. I was having a ton of fun, but it had started to lose it’s luster a little bit.

Then came my mid-20s and a fateful invitation to a house party in Foxboro. MJ was at that party, and even though I was THAT close to hooking up with another girl at that party, MJ and I ended up confessing our true feelings for each other despite having known one another since the 6th grade. After one week of dating I told my best friend Craig that I was going to marry her. By the time I was 25 I was engaged.

The age of 26 brought a change of career leading me back to journalism, and also marriage. 27 was a tough one because MJ was sick and the first year of marriage isn’t easy for anyone. But by 28 we had a little bundle of joy.

So there you have it. From a young and wild college student who lived for getting wasted with friends at parties and bars, to a (partially) responsible husband and father all in the span of a decade. But 30?? Thirty is fucking old. Always has been. And since I’m definitely not old, how the hell can I be 30? I’m a 30-something. Now if I do something stupid or humiliating it’s not cute. People no longer shake their head and say “Well he’s young.” Now if I act like an idiot, I’m just an idiot. Because I’m too old to act like an idiot. I’m 30. I’m an adult, whatever that means. I’m a husband and a dad.

I have no idea what my 30’s will bring? Another kid maybe? Will newspapers be extinct forcing another career shift? Will MJ finally come to her senses and find a suitable husband? I don’t know. But I do know there will probably be a few less beers, less stories that begin with “so we were wasted at the bar,” and a few more creaky bones and less hair. But hopefully it’ll also bring a decade of eye opening experiences as a father and husband, and an opportunity to grow into my role as both.

In the meantime, I’m simply thankful for all the wonderful people in my life who cared enough to throw me a surprise party and who have stuck with me all these years. I know I haven’t always deserved your loyalty and love, but I’ve always appreciated it more than you know. I’m thankful for the love of my boy, a feeling truly like no other. Not to mention my wife, who is far too good for me. My parents, my brother (that book is amazing people, I can’t even begin to tell you), my friends and family are all too terrific for words. And that includes my “online friends” who know me from this blog. We may not have met, but I feel your presence daily and I’m better for it.

So here’s to 30 and the ass kicking I plan on giving it.

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22 thoughts on “30

  1. Congratulations! By the way, after I read the post on MJ being a jerk and wanting to talk about something 2 weeks later on your birthday, I told my husband you were being thick and of COURSE she is doing something for your birthday. I couldn’t wait, for your sake, and I’m glad it was as good as I thought it would be!

    Kudos on becoming accountable for your actions. Happy Birthday!

  2. Happy Birthday Daddy Files. You certainly have come a long way and always remember the best is yet to come and it is from the past years that you are the man you are today! Congratulations on being such a great father!

  3. The book is the best thing I have ever seen! The only bad thing is now I’m going to have to get Nate to have a bunch of copies printed for me! Your Mom and I are so proud of both of you.

    Happy birthday Aaron – we are all very proud of you and love you very much. You’re a great son as well as a great Dad!

  4. Happy Birthday! You ain’t old now! Wait ten years, then start talking about being old; my birthday’s in January and I’m not quite sure about how that big number’s going to hit me.

  5. You have come a long way for certain. What is so great about you is you notice this. So many people in this world just pad one foot in front of the other pad,pad, pad, pad…then they are 80 and can’t figure out what happened. You are living in the moment, full of love and wonder with the world You are in inspiration and I’m SOOOO happy MJ was doing what she was doing. In hindsight, I don’t think anyone doubted her!

    Happy Birthday!

  6. A. The surprise party was tres muy cool, especially since they managed to surprise you even when you were waiting for it.
    B. The gift from your brother is even cooler than the party.
    3. 30 is not old, don’t take me there. Your teens are filled with idiocy, your 20’s is idiocy with rights. Your 30’s is when you can really begin your life as an adult. You’ve already documented the maturity that comes with age. It doesn’t cease. You will have more fun now than in your 20’s, it just a different preference of activities and challenges.The adventure is just starting.
    D. You are never too old to act like an idiot on occasion. I think you are firmly ahead of the class on this issue.
    E. Happy 30th!
    6. Always respect your elders.

  7. Congratulations, and happy birthday.
    I remember 30. My wife also threw me a great surprise party, and I couldn’t believe how old I was. Now, nearly 14 years later, I have 3 great kids including an 11-year-old son (if you want, read about how he’s just like me by clicking the link above). Coincidentally, I am a former newspaperman — hang in there! — and a big sports fan, although I like NY teams (not the Yankees, don’t worry!). Enjoy your 30s; it’s a great time in your life.

  8. Happy Birthday. Thirty isn’t so bad. Be glad you survived your twenty’s to make it here. That gift is one of the best gifts I have heard. That would be great.

  9. Ahh, 30 is nothing! 40 is when everything starts to go. That book sounds like the best present ever, and I’m glad you had fun at your party. Happy birthday, man!

  10. Thirty is not old! Congratulations on reaching this milestone! I’m sure you’ll do some major ass-kicking in this decade. The 30s are tremendous, 40s are fabulous and the 50s? I don’t know, haven’t gotten there yet. I hear they can be fantastic. I’m trying to be optimistic here.
    I think everyone in their 20s has to go through some idiocy. There are so many changes during this decade, it’s hard not to go off the deep end every once in awhile.
    I’m so glad you were surprised, even though you were expecting a surprise. Your birthday gift was a sure winner and very touching.

  11. Happy B-Day! I wanted to come but was struck down with a monsterous migrane that put me under. I tried to call MJ, but her cell went straight to voicemail. I figured she was frantic with last minute stuff. Sounds like it was fun! Sorry I missed it.

    You’ll love your 30’s. I’m 2 years in and I’m still waiting for it to hit me. 🙂

  12. Happy birthday, Aaron! I can’t believe I am going to be 30 too… this winter! You have come a long way! Congratulations, it seems like you have a really wonderful family and life! Isn’t it nice to be all grown up? 🙂

  13. Holy cow! You are making me feel ancient!! Thank God I have a six year old to keep me young. Happy belated birthday!

    Oh, and the DH rule sucks….

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