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The holiday is almost over. Seven hours ago, I dropped Jacqui and Kate, Vickie's eldest daughter and her grand-daughter, off at Cairns Airport for their flight back to Melbourne after spending the week here (we just had a phone call; they're home safe). Forty hours ago I went to bed after a party at our place. In a couple of hours I'll be off to bed and getting up at six tomorrow morning to prepare for work.

And I'm thirty. I've officially been on this Earth for thirty years.

It's odd. On one hand, being thirty doesn't mean much - although I'm a second closer to the septannual (is that a valid word?) rotation of the atoms that comprise my body, I'm still pretty much the same person that I was at ten to midnight on July the tenth. The centre of my being hasn't undergone some radical shift. My self identity is still composed of all the usual bits and pieces; I'm still in love with Vickie, I'm still an SF nut, I'm still more nervous than I'd prefer to be, I'd still like to pay in or run a tabletop roleplaying game sometime and I still have a slightly unhealthy fixation on Transformers.

Yet on the other hand, I find myself reaching for cliched terms like milestone. I mean, I'm thirty. Three zero. There's something there, not mid-life-crisis wise (someone shoot me if I ever get that bad), but something that invites a pause for reflection. I've lived through 262,800 hours. The actions I've taken and the things that have happened to me during those hours have made me the person sitting at this computer right now, and all that time needs some sort of, I don't know, processing so that the decisions I'll keep on making will lead to me being more sane, more able to take the world as it is without panic.

I think I've already done some of that. I suddenly find myself a little less guilty about my guilty pleasures now. As of yesterday, I have three Optimus Primes (not to mention a Megatron and a little Autobot named Clocker). I still listen to the RPG-related podcasts I subscribe to, there's a copy of Spirit of the Century on its way from the States, I'm thinking about buying the Star Wars Saga Edition Roleplaying Game, I'm working my way through the Guitar Hero II campiagn and I have pre-orders in for the Halo 3 Limited Edition (the Legendary Edition has already been throughly pre-ordered out) and Mass Effect.

I'm also getting a bit better at recognising what's good in my life. I'm coming up on the thrid anniversary of a wonderful marriage (yes, ladies and gents, I can remember the date without looking it up), I've got a good job with a good group of colleagues (some of whom were able to make it along to my party on Friday night), I'm more confident than I used to be. Our financial situation is a lot better than I worried it was (nonetheless, I must thank, and have thanked, Dad for a little help in the form of a very generous thirtieth birthday present). My mania for tabeltop roleplaying games has settled into the hobby-interest it ought to be; Vickie has commented that I'm no longer "living between games". I'm having a fun friendship with an eleven year old boy whom I hang out with every fortnight; we run around in the forest out the back of Redlynch, shooting M-41As and Moritas.

Can I improve myself? Yes. I'd like to work smarter, manage my time and workload without - or, approaching the concept realistically, with a minimum of - getting grouchy at my fellow co-workers just for giving me more stuff to do. I'd like to be able to tackle the bigger projects within work and in my personal time with more confidence. I'd like to handle my reactions to other people's anger better.

But, and here's the thing I've often had difficulty taking to heart, that doesn't mean that the person I am right now is bad or otherwise desperately in need of radical change. There's a song, "In Repair" on John Mayer's Continuum album, that ends in the refrain, "I'm not together, but I'm getting there." I can certainly sympathise with the spirit of the song, but I think "not together" is too absolute; I'm on my way, and have already successfully covered quiote a bit of ground on the journey. I'm a strong and worthy person.

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"I'm a strong and worthy person"...
So finally you believe me eh?

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