On turning 33


Monday morning I awoke in the surprisingly warm loft of a forest service cabin, went down the ladder in my socks, blew coals back into life, and put a pot for cowboy coffee on the stove. I was 33 years old.

The afternoon we had skied in, done cabin stuff like chopping wood, melting snow, and playing battleship. We then ate a lot and went to bed. That morning we got up, skied out, and I went to work.





I didn’t have many strong thoughts that morning, besides being hungry and having a sore leg from my wreck the day before. I don’t have many about another birthday turning over now. A few years past 30 and I’m well into a phase I assume will consume the rest of my life; having to think for a bit before I recall how old I am.  Overall, I am content.  I have a job I like, but not too much, which satisfies the moral obligation I think I have towards humanity at large.  I have a number of other interests, which usually leave me with more interesting things to do than hours awake.  I have family, friends, and a wife who I like more than when I married her over 10 years ago.  I have what seems to be developing into a mature, adult satisfaction with all of the above.

I think that our world gives too much exposure to quick satisfaction won by circumstance and fortune (which is to say: youth), and not enough to modest achievement whose rich quality can only be had over decades.

For the record, our cabin was Challenge up in the western shadow of the Continental Divide, and it is a very nice cabin, only rented Dec 1 thru March 31st.  It is the best of both cabin worlds, being 7 miles from the pavement, and road accessible in the summer (ergo it has a propane stove and lights).  The road in is trafficed by snowmachines, and groomed regularly.  We had cold, grainy snow which gave poor glide.  Under similar conditions, it would be an ideal fatbike destination.  Bike to the cabin, backcountry ski from there.

8 responses to “On turning 33”

  1. Happy birthday from a complete stranger. I wish I could distill this post and feed it to my high school students. So much of what I try to do with them – lifelong learning, life long skills – can only be enjoyed after several years. Thanks for all of your writing.

  2. Happy birthday, Dave.

    1. Happy Birthday, Dave! wishing you blue skies and a wind on your back for most your journeys and a little adversity here and there to keep it all fresh.

  3. I stumbled upon your blog today (I’ve found it a few times but always forget to bookmark it) and thank you, because I really needed this reminder today. “modest achievement whose rich quality can only be had over decades”… yes. That I get. It’s always nice to find something that shifts your perspective just in the right way to make your day (and beyond) better. Happy Birthday.

  4. I agree very much.

    Most of the enviously accomplished people I know have done it over the course of a lifetime, fueled by desire and the simple pleasure of doing, rather than flashy attention grab-style.

  5. Happy birthday! Your blog is my favourite.
    Didn’t know that we are the same age with less than two weeks difference)

  6. Happy birthday, and its nice to read you have contentment in your life. Enjoy the next year and all it brings.

  7. I deeply appreciate the well-wishes everyone. I hope all have a fulfilling 2014.

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