"Before you can search for truth, you must be interested in finding it." -Miroslav Volf

Monday, March 25, 2013

Farewell, Twenties

I’m now thirty years old (and one+ week). I haven’t yet really taken the time to decide whether or not that means anything to me. I don’t feel much different. Maybe I do feel a small degree of pressure to “be” something or to have “accomplished” something, as if there’s a universal expectation of what a thirty-year-old should look like. But, not surprisingly, I did not feel any kind of ontological shift on the day of transition to my thirties. Nor did anyone give me a jacket and a cigar signifying admission to an exclusive club. So far, thirty just feels like one more than twenty-nine.

But the change in not one but two digits has caused me to reflect back on my twenties and consider all that transpired in those years. For example, I...
  • Went skydiving (thanks to Joann’s prodding).
  • Taught English in Xiaogan (near Wuhan), China for a year.
  • Got married. Still married.
  • Had a daughter. Still have her.
  • Tried to co-pastor a church plant and was eventually asked to leave for not being theologically conservative enough.
  • Tried to win the hearts of several girls and failed. (Even picked flowers for one girl from five different European countries, pressed and dried them in a picture frame and gave them to her. She was “flattered” and that was about it. Should have just bought her coffee. Wouldn’t mind getting the flowers back, actually.)
  • Had four (that I'm aware of) seizures in my sleep over a two-year period. Been free of them since 2008, thanks to chiropractic (who knew?) and God knows what else.
  • Remained obsessively and fanatically loyal to a baseball team that missed the playoffs every year of my twenties.
  • Stayed in a tiny hostel room in Prague with two gorgeous Argentinean blonds in their skimpy pajamas. And talked religion. I have ambivalent feelings about whether or not I made the most of that experience.
  • Completed a BA, started and finished an MDiv, and began a PhD.
  • Did two months of grant-funded research on the Latin American “emerging” church, traveling to four countries and learning a ton. Also, while there, visited Machu Piccu and talked a drug dealer out of shooting me.
  • Took two trips to Europe—study trip in Western Europe, backpacking in Central Europe.
  • Buried my childhood dog after 18 (exclamation point) years.
  • Jogged on the Great Wall of China.
  • Spent a month in Africa in service and safari.
  • Watched my Grandpa—heavily involved in my childhood—decline with Alzheimer’s and eventually pass away.
  • Became a cult legend at Tumwater High School for my masterful chaperoning and for wearing a stuffed lion on my head.
  • Bought an engagement ring from my then-unofficial-fiancée (in hundreds) that she had bought on her parents’ credit card earlier that day. Gave it back to her three days later. I mean, "proposed."
  • Cried three times (all in the last ten months…damn, almost made it the whole decade...I'm breaking).
  • “True, honorable, unsurpassed nobility, duly (dually?) existential as we realiiiizzeee…” (Inside joke, forgive me).
  • Had my first kiss. Didn’t happen as a teenager…probably due to some combination of being prudish, awkward,  "religious", shy, a pansy, or being unattractive to the girls I was attracted to.
  • Worked a short stint at Starbucks right after college (as every good northwest college grad should).
  • Ran a marathon.
  • Started wearing vests, V-necks, and converse (Joann’s influence). Wore “Boswell shirts” (last inside reference) with great frequency.
  • Two Disneyland visits. It gets better the older I get.
  • Wrote timeless classics such as “Flee-ber” and “I Want All of Your Clothes to Be Off of Your Body.” One for children and for my wife. Please correctly discern which for whom.
  • Had a profound work experience as a direct care worker for three developmentally disabled men. Had a less profound work experience installing outdoor lighting systems (well…digging trenches for a guy who installed outdoor lighting systems).
  • Worked for EF International with a team of fabulous teachers. Taught English to a community of Venezuelans, Germans, Saudis, Libyans, Vietnamese, Koreans, Russians, among many others. Occasionally learned English from fellow teacher and word artist Dave.
  • Participated in the weddings of Chris, Ron, Brad, Mark, Pat, Vic, Trevor, Dan, Ian, and Matt. And my own wedding, of course.
  • Remained thoroughly Jesus-centered but experienced a gradual shift in theology and values. As a 20-year old I felt pity for all those people who didn’t know the Truth. As a 29-year old I felt pity that I knew so little of it. As a 20 year old I thought men should be out rescuing “the beauty” wherever she might be (John Eldridge terminology/thought). As a 29-year-old I thought those same men should be allowed to rescue beautiful men too.
  • Faced the scariest moment of my life as I nearly lost my wife to HELLP syndrome (would have had we lived a century earlier).
  • Played alto saxophone as a guest artist on a jazz album.
  • Moved to the Bay Area. Began referring to our home with the more inclusive term "Bay Area" because San Francisco isn't quite accurate, Berkeley is where our academic and social life are, and no one really knows where Vallejo is, and the part of Vallejo we live in is really not all that Vallejo-ish.
  • Tweeted. Once. On July 22, 2012. I wrote: “Clara grunted.”
It was a good decade. And my thirties are off to a good start: turns out I left my car door open all night! Nothing missing, car started fine. No indication that anyone or anything (our neighborhood is known as “Skunk Hill”) slept there last night.


JillW said...

My goodness, Matt. You've done more than many have done in several lifetimes. What outstanding experiences you have had, with the possible exception of almost being shot. Did your mom know about that?

Matt Boswell said...

Thanks, Jill. I do have many great memories, both pleasant and...formative. :)