Things I'm Thankful For

As long-time readers know, except on rare occasions, I don't write about my personal life on this blog. This isn't because I'm trying to be mysterious; I just don't think it's especially interesting!

But, occasionally, my life reaches a milestone significant enough that I have to be egotistical and write about it. I think this is one of those times, because next week is my 30th birthday. (My wife enjoyed reminding me of this just a little too much. She'd best laugh while she can; it'll be her turn in a few months.)

The full force of this realization hit me the other night, while I was sitting in bed and reading. For just a moment, I felt sheer panic at the thought - it seems like I was only just in college, but the time goes so fast, and every year seems to pass by more quickly than the last.

The full force of this realization hit me the other night, while I was sitting in bed and reading. For just a moment, I felt sheer panic at the thought - it seems like I was only just in college, but the time goes so fast, and every year seems to pass by more quickly than the last. Do I have to accept that I'm an adult now? Are the best years of my life behind me?

But after a moment of reflection, I realized that I have no real reason to be upset, because my life is going pretty much exactly the way I would have wanted. Even if I could go back in time and do it all over again, I wouldn't have made any major choices differently. I'm happily married to the love of my life (and coming up on my second anniversary already, holy cow!). I have a loving family, a rich circle of friends, and a day job that I enjoy.

And of course, there's this blogging thing, which has taken my life in directions I never could have imagined when I started my first website, way back in college, to jot down some thoughts that occurred to me late at night. I've discovered an entire secular community, full of clear thinking and brilliant ideas, which I'm happy to be part of and to learn from. I've attended atheist conventions across the country, where I've met some really awesome people (and another huge one, the Reason Rally, is coming up in just a few weeks and promises to be even more fantastic). I've even started doing some speaking events for college groups, which is ridiculously fun - it's tremendously energizing and inspiring to see so many smart, motivated young people. The atheist movement is exploding, and I love playing a part in it, even if it's just a small one.

I don't want to boast too much, so I have to acknowledge that good fortune played a large part in this. I've been lucky in my life, and I know that not everyone can say the same. Nor can I claim that, beyond luck, it was all due to my effort. There's no cosmic power to thank, but a vast number of human beings, directly or indirectly, have made it possible for me to lead the life I do - the people who raised me and cared for me, of course, but also the people who built our society, the people who defended it, the millions whose efforts still maintain it - and I'm grateful to all of them. Compared to all that I have to be thankful for, turning 30 doesn't seem like such a high price to pay after all.

Image credit: See-ming Lee, released under CC BY-SA 2.0 license

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