Since I graduated from university, the age 28 has held a special position my future. I had personal goals that all seemed to align "about 5 years" after graduation or around age 28. Those goals included items like: create some technologies that many people agreed were useful, establish a reputation as an expert in the setup domain, and to not be alone.
Today, I turned 28.
When I was 23, the first two goals on my list were of the utmost importance. For the first few years, I was working long hours on multiple projects simultaneously. I was working hard to make a difference internal to Microsoft. I was also having a blast. There was at least six consecutive months in there where I was only taking each third Sunday off. On that "day of rest", I would eat breakfast (usually clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl on the pier), walk along the pier in downtown of Seattle, sleep again in the afternoon, reload all of the technical context back into my brain, then go to sleep so I could wake up the next morning and build software for the next three weeks again.
But, I was alone.
However, the last couple weeks and this weekend in particular have demonstrated how the last year has been different. Yesterday morning, Jenny drove me up to Vancouver, British Columbia for my birthday weekend. She wanted to do something special for my birthday and thus decided to introduce me to some of her favorite places in Vancouver.
We started by stopping for lunch at the Sakgit River Brewery. The barbeque bacon cheeseburger was amazing and the homemade root beer was extremely tasty as well. This kicked off the trip real well (after spending the morning frantically searching for my passport, which was not found). After a 30 - 45 minute wait at the border we went up to Simon Fraser University. Jenny actually attended SFU for a couple semesters on an international studying program while attending class at UNLV. Those two semesters are why how she got to know the amazingly beautiful city of Vancouver so well. By the way, the Simon Fraser campus is very beautiful. The architecture there was really quite fascinating.
After checking into our hotel for the night, Jenny took me down to Gastown for dinner. While at SFU Jenny's brother visited once and took her to this tucked away Italian restaurant. The food was fantastic and set us up magnificently for dessert from Death By Chocolate. While it took us a while to locate one of the restaurants the search was well worth the effort. The piece of chocolate and peanut butter cake was fantastic.
The next morning, Jenny took me to Siegel's Bagels for the best eggs benedict ("eggs benny") I've ever had. However, it took us a bit to acquire breakfast since they didn't accept credit cards and we weren't carrying any Canadian cash. So after running down two different ATMs (about 4 blocks away) we finally came up with the appropriate type of tender. The lady behind the counter was very kind and only started the breakfast bagels when she saw us running back. A good time was had by all.
We finished up the morning and early afternoon by walking along the English Bay Beach and around Granville Island. Then we hopped back in the Xterra and drove back to Seattle.
In case you thought this trip was all about the food, you'd be terribly mistaken. I left out all of the talking, laughing, and just "being together" parts that made this weekend such a wonderful birthday weekend. And that actually brings me to the point of this blog entry.
During the road trip, one of Green Day's latest songs "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" came on the radio. I actually own the American Idiot album but this weekend the lyrics to this song struck a chord with me. In years gone past, I've been purely focused on technical achievements and those have been mostly solitary endeavors. I always dreamed of a future when there would be other people working and walking right beside me. That future was age 28.
Today at exactly age 28, I realized that over the last year my dreams from age 23 all came true. In all those extracurricular technical projects, I now work with an amazing crew. And, in real life, Jenny walks beside me.
The past was productive, the future is bright, and I'm thankful for the present where I am no longer alone.