Twenty years . . .
I used to think that twenty years was a long time, but now . . . not so much. Big Sky Journal—a favorite Montana publication of mine—is celebrating twenty years of existence this year. I guess anything that is in print on paper today and makes it to twenty years has a reason to celebrate. Not many publications are making it any more . . . but, twenty years ain’t what it used to be.
Maybe the twenty year milestone was something when I was a teenager looking towards that seemingly elusive milestone. I must admit that I was pretty impressed with myself when I hit twenty—I hadn’t killed myself with any of the idiotic antics of youth and lived to brag about them. Any of us who survived our first twenty years—in particular our teen years—should pat ourselves on the back.
At the same time, most of us would probably say that the twenties blew by at an astonishing rate . . . in fact, the second twenty practically blew by at the blink of an eye. Those, supposedly, were the “good ol’ days”. Those two decades were spent blazing trails . . . the career trail . . . the marriage trail . . . the invasion of children trail . . . the creating a family trail . . . establishing a name for one’s self trail. It was a total blur in the rear view mirror, and before we knew it, we’d surpassed the twenty year marker to double it at forty. Shoot, twenty is nothing.
I’ve been working on my third twenty now for fifteen years—I’m 75 percent of the way there to accomplishing a “hat trick” on the twenty year time spans. In those nearly six decades I have reach several twenty year milestones and blown by them. This year marks the 37th year since graduating high school—I probably should go to a reunion since I haven’t made it to one yet. Thirty-three years since I graduating college . . . thirty years since graduating seminary . . . thirty years since being ordained. That one I cherish . . . I’m not really “reverent” material, but I’ve held on for thirty years. It helps if you move a lot—they can’t find you.
Sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? But, I’m only beginning. The wife and I celebrate 32 years of marriage this year, and she would tell you that at least twenty of them were good. I have been a parent for close to thirty years . . . and, I didn’t kill any of my children despite those times I contemplated it. I have been a sibling for over 54 years of my life . . . and, remarkedly, all my siblings still claim me. I have been paying into Social Security and federal income taxes for over 42 years. And, I’m pretty sure I have been going bald for at least 34 years! Shoot, twenty years is nothing!
Twenty years is a weigh station on the journey of life. It is a moment to pause in life’s pleasures and take stock of how far we have come. Toss down a couple of beers, recall a few memories, tell a couple of outrageous stories, and then hike up the pants and start another twenty.
There are several areas of my life where I am aiming for that twenty year milestone . . . yet. I have been a grandfather now for a year . . . it is a pretty good gig. I like being a grandfather . . . it is nice to have the freedom to spoil a kid . . . teach them all the things that her parents do not want them to learn . . . and, then, send them home. Yeah, I’d like to be a grandfather for at least another nineteen years.
I’ve owned my first house now for almost six years . . . it is the wife and mine first house that is all ours . . . where we do not need to get permission to do anything that we want to do. It is kind of nice to be able to have family and friends to a place that we call our own . . that we call “home”.
I enjoy working the two jobs I have . . . the church and the university. They are good people to work with. Hitting twenty with them would be a satisfying accomplishment . . . but, that all probably depends upon whether or not they can put up with my lame, dry humor. So far, so good.
On the one hand, twenty years is a mere drop in the bucket; on the other, it seems a long ways off when considering how far I have yet to go in these new adventures. The race is on . . . who will win? Only time will tell. Oh yeah, the other thing that I realized . . . I’m an old fart when the standard is twenty.
Congratulations to the Big Sky Journal . . . may you have twenty more. Pat yourselves on the back, and then get back to work like the rest of us. Twenty years . . . phfttt! There is still a long ways to go and much to accomplish!