I’m 30. How’d I get here?

9 January 2012

I turned 30. Here I reflect on three things that got me to this milestone.


My 30th birthday cake: chocolate-mousse cheesecake at Junior’s in Brooklyn.
My 30th birthday cake: chocolate-mousse cheesecake at Junior’s in Brooklyn.

In the weeks and months before January—the month I turned 30 and the month I started working on this issue of Dialann—I had grand plans for what I would say here. It would be a masterpiece for the ages, an exposition of the deep, poignant, reflective feelings I felt as I turned a decade in my life, an expression of my hope for the future.

January began and with it came and went 9 January, my birthday. Then January ended. Now here I am on 16 February, writing this. (And, yes, still working on this issue. It’s a little delayed. But I’m almost done. In fact, this is basically the last thing that needs to be done on it.)

And yet no grand essay. Not a single word. Why? To be frank, because those deep, poignant, reflective feelings never materialized.

Oh, I enjoyed my birthday celebration. Susan, Fiona, and I began the evening by taking the subway to Times Square. We ate dinner at Hard Rock Cafe then headed across Broadway to Toys ‘R’ Us, where we rode the indoor Ferris wheel. We then took the Q train to downtown Brooklyn, where we got desert—chocolate-mousse cheesecake for me, German chocolate cake for Susan, and a nap for Fiona—at Junior’s.

Yet I would feel remiss if I didn’t take the time to write something at this juncture in my life. I actually started writing something this morning. But, as expected, it wasn’t what I really wanted to say.

So I’ve thought about it some more. Here’s a second take at this.


A lot of things have made me who I am today. My family, especially my mother, my brother Daniel, and my late grandmother and Aunt Linda. My friends—of whom I’m happy to say there are too many to name here. Many of the literally thousands of people I’ve met over the past three decades, ranging from teachers and classmates to those I taught on my mission. And many people I’ve never met: authors of books I’ve read; leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; the builders of the cities and places I admire most; people I’ve heard about in the news whose examples I admire.

But I would like to write about three things from my three decades of life that I feel have made me who I am today. I do not write about these things because they are more important to me than the people or things I was just mentioning, or because I think they’ve impacted me more. Rather, I choose these because I think they each have a direct and measurable impact on who and where I am right now.

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