What 35 Feels Like

I’m 35 today.  Here are some thoughts on what I’m feeling/thinking:

  • I officially turned 35 at 12:54 am, which is when I was born at Ft. Hamilton Hughes Hospital in Hamilton, Ohio.  Yes, I held onto those precious fifty-four minutes as a young 34-year-old.  I remember wanting to stay up to see my “actual” birthday when I was turning 10.  Except I told my Mom on March 7th that that’s what I wanted to do.  She reminded me, “That was last night.  You were born at 12:54 am – very early on this day.”  I was crushed.  I had to wait a whole year to see it and I never made that mistake again.
  • When I was 10, a year felt like an eternity.  Ever feel like life just keeps moving faster?  Or as Pink Floyd sang, “Every year is getting shorter/never seem to find the time…”  Well, as my uncle told me, there’s math behind it.  You see, when you’re two years old, a year is 50% of your life.  When you’re fifty years old, a year is 2% of your life.  To you, a year will naturally feel much faster to you as you get older.
  • Another significant thing happened when I was 10.  I told my Mom, “I’m no longer calling you ‘Mommy.’  That was for when I was single digits.  I’m double digits now.”
  • My thirties are half-over.  To anyone who’s in his 20s or 30s, let me just say this:  Thirties are legit.  I’m in my mental prime.  I know so much more than I did in my twenties.  I know what I want and how to get it.  Perhaps more importantly, I know what I don’t want a whole lot faster.  As I once stated in an F-Book status, “I care more and more about less and less.”  I’m focused.  I have more money and less debt than I did in my twenties.  And I’m better-looking.  Though that prolly has more to do with some sorely-needed weight gain.  As far as the hair loss… well, I cover that with a hat.  Although I’m gonna have to do something more dramatic than that soon.  Nevertheless, I’m just a better person than I was at 29.  I’m just thankful that I’m where I wanna be.
  • I remember saying to my roommate, also a standup comic and 9 years my junior, “I wish I had your youth.”  He hit me back with, ~”I wish I had your life experience.  You have so much to talk about onstage.  You’ve worked at different companies, gone through more relationships, traveled, and have just experienced more.”  After that, I started owning my age.
  • I used to work at the world’s largest advertiser, so I am acutely aware that I have departed the 25-34 demographic.
  • I secretly measure some of my success today by how many Happy Birthday wall posts I get on Facebook.  (And I hugely appreciate them, guys.)
  • I moved to Los Angeles five years ago.  It’ll be five exactly on May 30th.  My theory on moving is this:  You can’t be happy if you’re more than weekend trip from home unless you have at least one of two things going for you – a career or a relationship.  A weekend trip from home means driving – like you can live in Chicago if you’re from Cincinnati.  Friends and weather are all well and good.  But we get homesick unless we have either an awesome job or an awesome S/O (significant other).  I’m fortunate that I have both.  And yes, I choose Bullet Point #8 in a blog post to announce to the world that I’m not single.  It’s just that I don’t know what to do w/ my perpetually single stage persona now.
  • I always joke that I moved to California to meet the coolest people from the Midwest.  But I’m only half-kidding.  Most of my LA friends are from Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois… we’re grounded enough to have the same family values but adventurous enough to go see what that Manifest Destiny thing is all about.  I always claim Ohio when people ask me where I’m from.  I’m proud of my home state.  But Ohio’s a great place to be FROM.  I think you’re not defined by where you were born but by where you choose to live.  I’ve never really understood the concept of bragging on your home.  I don’t love Cincinnati because it’s the greatest city in the country.  I just love it because it’s mine.  And I don’t love Hamilton because… well, do I have to finish that sentence, really?
  • I felt old for the first time at 17.  Of course, that looks silly to read now.  But for some reason, 17 felt old.  So did 22, 25, 27, and 30.
  • Incidentally, I feel like I fundamentally changed at 9, 13, 15, 18, 25, 30, and 34.  As you can see, there isn’t any correlation between the intuition of feeling old and what I consider to be the inflection points of my life.  What were these step changes?  Right or wrong, this is what I felt at the time:  At 9, I became funny.  At 13, I became a leader.  At 15, I became egotistical.  At 18, I became aware.  At 25, I became successful.  At 30, I woke up and realized what I had to do.  At 34, I finally slowed down.  I was the last of my friends to finally stop going out and tearing it up on the wknds, drinking vodka-tonics and breaking it down to Ke$ha.  I grew up and got ready to actually – just maybe – act like a man.  And even as I write this, I realize how silly it all sounds and how much sillier it will look a day from now…  a month from now… a year from now… and 50 years from now.
  • 35 is much easier to swallow than 30.  I was devastated when I turned 30.  I think most people had the goal of making $100,000 at 30.  Two round numbers.  But my troubles weren’t financial.  I felt like I wasn’t doing what I really wanted to be doing.  I had done a million cool things but I had done them all in Ohio.  I felt like Indiana Jones (Ohio Jones?) after finding the Holy Grail.  I could live forever but had to do so in a 20′ x 20′ space.  F that.  So I went to California “with an aching in my heart.”  It wasn’t my decision.  “Shove me in the shallow water before I get too deep,” but my hand was forced.  I left P&G, got a job at FIJI Water, worked (OK, stayed) there for 12 weeks, jumped ship with money in my hands, saw my name on the marquee of a club on Melrose for my first LA gig, took that as a sign, spent a month meditating on my future, and went full-time into comedy on October 1, 2006.  The story is a lot more complicated than that, but then again… is it?
  • I always love when executives tell their life story as if they made all those decisions themselves.  They didn’t.  Like that sunscreen song says, “Your choices are half-chance.  So are everybody else’s.”
  • I stopped counting years at 30.  31 felt way better.  Because it doesn’t signify anything in pop culture, like being able to rent a car without additional fees at 25 or ending three decades at 30.  From here on out, it’s an every-five-years occurrence, like high school reunions.  Unless those are every 10 years.  I plan those things and I still haven’t figured it out.
  • I’m not looking forward to 40.  Then again, I didn’t look forward to 30 in my 20s and life is fine.  40 feels much more significant for myriad reasons.  Unless you’re a cockeyed optimist, you realize your life is probably half-over.  At least decade-wise.  You can’t really insist at 50 that you’re going to make it to 100.  But you can reasonably state that you’ll make it to 80.  I’ve always “known” I’ll somehow get to around 85 or 90.  My Grampa just passed away in December and he was 98.  I don’t think I’ll make it that far but that’s a good sign.  I think maybe this is a belief that my Muslim friends have but there’s something about being judged as a human when you’re 40.  Something about how you are who you are at that point.  I mean, it is a curve, isn’t it?  Sure, I was different at 30 from 20, but not nearly as much as the gap between 20 and 10.  Although it could be argued that my life now is completely believable to me at ages 30 and 10 but would be completely unbelievable to the 20-year-old Rajiv.
  • As a Hindu, I do sometimes wonder where I am in the whole rebirth thing.  To me, I have one glaring flaw:  I’m pretty easy to rile up.  It’s a gift and a curse.  It’s what gives me the drive to rant and rave and go off on things and make crazy statements that tend to be very comedic, both in their wisdom and in their horrible stupidity – to be laughed with and laughed at.  But other than that, I’m the person I want to be.  That doesn’t mean I’m perfect.  It just means I accept my flaw(s) for what they are.  Do I really need another 50 years to self-actualize?  Can I get a sit-down with Maslow?
  • I want to be in movies.  Who doesn’t?  But I kind of feel like I already live in one.  And I want to stick around to see what happens.  Where will all my friends end up?  Whom will they marry?  Will my married friends stay that way?  What will their kids be like?  What will they all do for a living?  Is it the same thing they’re doing now?  Will any become really super-enlightened?  Will they change drastically?  Will any become very rich or famous?  And what about me?  Will I get what I want – access, access, access?  Will I discover what I really want to know about this world?
  • I have a tendency to try on different philosophies from time-to-time.  And I’ve been experimenting with the idea for the last few weeks that nobody knows anything and, because of this, that we should all just follow our own advice.  I mean, I think most of what I wrote above is complete BS.  It’s just what I feel right now, at this moment.  Things change.  It’s like driving through a thick fog.  We all do the same thing:  “Whoa, it’s really foggy up there.”  Then we drive a half a mile.  “No, it’s REALLY foggy up there.”  Drive another half a mile.  “Up THERE – THAT’S where it’s really foggy.”  Hey, dumbass!  The whole thing is foggy.  That’s just what it looks like when you’re in it.
  • This much I can tell you for sure:  I am blessed beyond belief.  I had the resources to fly home-home (as in Cincinnati… or Hamilton… or, actually, Fairfield) and stay at my parents’ house for the wknd.  When I turned 35 at 12:54 am, I got the greatest gift I could imagine:  a hug from my Mom and my Dad.  Well, I’m 35.  Ma and Pa.

9 thoughts on “What 35 Feels Like

  1. The announcement of your non-single status was bulletpoint number 7, not 6. Apparently as you get older, your counting skills decline? :-/

  2. You are welcome. I would love for Indian dudes to become more successful and famous cuz maybe I can somehow/someway finagle some strange out of it.

    Check out this youtube video about how Craig Ferguson got a talk show. I know every circumstance is unique but it may provide some insight or avenue on howz to get a talkshow. Personally, I think having a full head of hair is 60% of it.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bek1DIE6Cs8&feature=related

    Best, B

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