At 29 years and 188 days…

The Internet and its esteemed worshippers are quite wild about numbers. “10 Ways To Do This.” “5 Reasons Not To Do That.” “30 Things He Likes About You.” “12 Celebrities You’ve Been Told You Should Care About.”

I’m not really certain where the impulse to attach random–and, believe me, most of the numbers at the heart of these articles were not derived using the scientific method–integers to various subjects sprang from, but it doesn’t seem to be going away. I’ve even, on occasion, found myself reading such works of genius–although usually on the condition that the title contains the word “cat,” “kitten,” “dog,” “puppy,” “penguin,” or “panda.”

In fact, just yesterday I found myself reading an article (list, really) someone posted on Facebook. “11 Questions Every Twentysomething Should Ask” by RELEVANT Magazine. (I judged it safe to read since the magazine does have the word relevant in the title.) While I couldn’t say I experienced any sort of epiphany reading the article, I did find myself lingering over the final question, probably because I am so terribly close to it.

At 29 years and 364 days, if I have accomplished just one thing, what do I want it to be?

I don’t know if this question was intended to be difficult to answer. It seemed like the type of article intended to be provocative, leading me to conclude that it should generate thought and self-reflection. I think I paused on the question because I am fast approaching 29 years and 364 days and I’ve had that exact thought charge brazenly through my head.

Thirty is arbitrary. Except that it’s not because the reality is that it means something culturally. Legally you are an adult at 18, but we tend to give ourselves our 20s as a period of exploration, trying out our newly-formed wings. With the understanding, of course, that 30 will come, and when it does we have to put away our adolescence. Setting aside my doubts and fears about whether I’m prepared (or willing) to do that, I have to admit that there is just one thing I wanted to have accomplished at 29 years and 364 days. (And that one thing likely won’t come as a surprise to anyone who knows me or reads this website.)

I wanted to be published. Not because that signifies the end to my journey as a writer, but because it marks the terribly-excited jumping off point. Last night, in the most anticlimactic fashion possible, I became published. I hit the “publish” button–once for my print book and then a second time for my ebook. And then I resumed my dinner with a bit of green beans cooked in garlic. (god is in the details, as they say.)

At 29 years and 188 days I accomplished the one thing that I’ve wanted to accomplish for at least 23 years and some odd days. And I didn’t throw up out of nerves. I don’t necessarily feel differently than I did before I hit publish. But I imagine it will make 30 a little easier, a little more graceful. This is the start of something incredible.

Scan20_2(I can’t say with absolute certainty, but at however many moths old I was in this photo, I was probably plotting my first novel. It only took another 29 years to make it happen. Hopefully the next one has a quicker turnaround.)




  1. […] when I realized that today is the one-year anniversary of the day I hit the publish button for Scourge of the Righteous Haddock, I felt strangely nostalgic. My book has been available to the […]

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