January 29, 2004

They Say It's Our Birthday

SO IT IS OUR BIRTHDAY next week. We can assure you that as in years past, we will have a quiet and simple celebration of the day. Indeed, it will be even simpler now that the Coca-Cola Co. Inc. has introduced Diet Coke with Lime, a drink which practically screams "Just Add Rum!"

We are hesitant to mention our age, primarily because doing so prompts jeers from our younger readers and disgust from our older ones. For this latter group of readers, we know that whiny, petulant griping about our age is the last thing they want to read. Indeed, as our father (Mr Kepple) put it, "Think how I feel." So we can assure you that we aren't going to carry on like some angst-ridden musician. This we promise. After all, we're only going to be 28, which in the grand scheme of things is a fine age to be.

Rather, we're going to look at this past year and the years to come. Oh, aye, that's a dangerous game; but it is fun to play, primarily because it gives us a written record to examine in the far-off future. We can assure you, though, that what ever we write here shall almost certainly bear no resemblance to how events actually play out.

For if you had told us eight years ago that we would soon find ourselves living in Los Angeles, we would have laughed at you uproariously. Had you mentioned future New Hampshire residency during our time in southern California, we would have similarly guffawed. So for all we know, despite our grand plans and dreams and hopes, five years' time shall see us living in some Memphis flophouse.

IN ANY EVENT, though, we can say one thing: we are better off than we were one year ago -- better off financially, better off physically, better off in terms of our soul. In some ways, it's hard to believe how well things have gone -- and we must say we feel a bit like Marco Polo in terms of blogging about it: ("I have not told half of what I have seen!") But we can say that all the moments of happiness and despair, excitement and frustration, bliss and misery -- they left us wiser.

And that, we would argue, is the accomplishment here -- we learned quite a lot. Not so much in terms of book-learning, although we have kept active with that; but rather in terms of learning about how life works.

For instance, we fell in love for the first time this past year. We are sorry to say that it did not last; but still, the experience was nothing but good in all respects. To this day we are still a bit dazed by how it all happened, but we would say this: there are few things more wonderful in life than knowing someone else loves you regardless of temporal things; when all the things on paper count for naught. And when this relationship eventually came to naught, we did our best to act with honor, and to act like a man should. By that, we mean that we accepted it, and we were thankful for all the good times along the way.

We also had some professional success as well, or so we thought; just because we felt like we were working like men are supposed to work. All those late nights and work-sleep-work cycles proved nothing but good, we think; not merely for the temporal benefits they provided, but the spiritual ones as well. Yes, there was that sense of laborare est orare, but there was also a sense that with our labor, we were doing right by our family. Perhaps we are not expressing this as well as we ought, but we hope that serves as an adequate distillation.

Finally, though, we would say that over this past year, we grew up a bit. Whether there was one key event that sparked this, we cannot say; but we notice that we've taken an eye to more serious matters as of late. We can assure you we have started taking Our Actual Future into account instead of living for the moment.

Consider: we actively save for our retirement. We regularly do preventive maintenance on our car. We have started taking vitamins and try to get a good rest each night. Hell, we've even started eating breakfast (although, in true Ben Kepple fashion, we're decidedly un-hip about it. It's bad enough we drink Tab; but starting our day with Product 19?).

Of course, on a mental level we are fully prepared for all these things to turn out badly. We are ready to deal with the market crashing and the car catching fire and for Kellogg's to replace Product 19 with some hideous kid-friendly sugar derivative touted by one or more talking birds with Serious Freakin' Issues. But even if all these things came to pass, we could rest easy knowing we have had a hell of a life -- and that the best things are yet to come.

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at January 29, 2004 11:41 PM | TrackBack