Monday, July 30, 2012

On the Good Side of Things

Today is a big day for me, so I’m told.  Some 262,800 hours ago, I was born.  That’s a big, round number, but so is 10,950—the number of days since my first one on this planet.

And yet apparently, the biggest number of them all is 30, which mathematically makes no sense (it doesn’t take a Darden student to figure that out).  Anyways, that’s how many years I’ve been on the earth.  All at once, that's amazing yet routine, blazingly fast yet calmly calculated, fortuitous yet arbitrary.

Of course I’ve heard all the jokes.  I’ve been called “old man,” “over the hill,” “has been,” you get the point.  The jabs are dished out in fun, and they’re received with an equally big smile—because in truth, I’m on the good side of things.

I’ve never been wiser, more peaceful, more happy.  I’ve never been more comfortable in my own skin.  I’ve never felt more loved.

Admittedly, I’m a bit bummed about the softball knee injury that won’t go away.  I’m not thrilled about the three extra pounds that seem to creep up when I’m not exercising.  And, long gone are the 3 AM nights of shots and beers from my undergrad days—the mere thought of the inevitable brutal hangover is usually enough for me to call off the night early.

Those negatives, however, are heavily outweighed by the positives.  30 finds me at a brilliant time—a rare moment when career, family, and self-discovery are perfectly interwoven and on the upswing.  I’ve had an outstanding summer internship experience at Green Mountain Coffee Roasters— I’ve learned a ton, met some incredibly kind and talented folks, and proven to myself that I have what it takes to succeed in marketing.

But at the same time, I’m excited to see my family back in Charlottesville.  I can’t wait to have our weekly dinners, catching up with each other over a glass of wine before engaging in a brisk XBOX Kinect competition.

And last but not least, I am proud to return to Darden as a second year MBA student.  I’m dying to hear about my classmates’ summers—from their work experiences to their cross-country travels to their promising future job leads.  I can’t wait to see my friends each morning at First Coffee.  I’m eager to get back in the classroom.  As an “elder,” I’m allowed to talk about the virtue and joys surrounding the pursuit of higher education.  Learning really is fun, and as I’ve learned this summer, it is useful too.

I am honored to be able to pass on what I’ve learned this past year.  Recently, I checked out the Darden Class of 2014 Facebook Page.  It was jam-packed with postings about sharing apartments, pre-school trips to the Corner in Charlottesville, and advice on laptop bundles and pre-matriculation curriculum.  Future classmates volunteered to help each other move heavy furniture.  They gave each other leads on living arrangements.  They asked each other about their hobbies, fantasy sports teams, and family members.

It made me proud and excited all at once. And yes, a little bit old too.  It isn’t hard to accept the fact that I’m 30 years old, but it is REALLY hard to believe I’m an SY already.  It seems like yesterday I was asking about pre-matriculation curriculum and laptop bundles.

Still, optimism rules this day, no doubt about it.

To those who’ve been a part of my first thirty years, I say thank you.  To those whom I’ll meet in just a few weeks, I say “Welcome to Darden.”

Admittedly, it appears that welcome is a bit late—judging from how you’re treating each other so far, you’re already part of the family.