In a little less than two months, I'll celebrate my 29th birthday.
For my own part, this is no cause for concern. Lately, however, everyone around me seems to think entering the last year of my 20s is one of the signs of the end times that only makes it into "author's preferred" editions of the Bible.
My older brother brings it up with a grin, like I'm about to experience a cruel, universal prank from which he's still recovering two years later. Some of my friends say it with a look of quiet pity or an air of wistfulness, depending on the side of the milestone on which they happen to reside. If I survive the occasion in 2015 without becoming instantaneously decrepit, I fear I may very well have let them down.
Frankly, I'm baffled by the hoopla. There's no evidence that surviving 30 trips around the sun is in any way more meaningful than 29 trips or 31 trips. If anything, I really shouldn't get hot and bothered until I turn 38 and a half on Dec. 20, 2023. That's when the CIA's World Factbook suggests I'll have reached the halfway point of my life expectancy as an American male.
Growing up, of course, nice round birthdays had a special kind of significance.
For my 10th birthday, I was given my first bike - and a pair of gray socks, if memory serves. At 15, I could make my cousins practically rabid with jealousy simply by flashing them my new learner's permit.
But after I turned 21, the list of additional privileges and responsibilities to accompany new ages petered out, and I found it harder to get worked up about the numbers.
In part, this blasé mindset is because, for all my adult blustering about maturity, my interests often fall more in line with my not-quite-3-year-old nephew than with my peers.
The thought of pizza for lunch continues to send a thrill through me, and I'm still a sucker for a good Lego kit. I practically giggled with excitement recently when I saw a trailer for the new "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" movie that's set for release this summer.
Just last week, I was one quirked eyebrow from the cashier away from buying a green plastic toy dragon from a local crafting supply store. In retrospect, I regret the decision. My desk could use a dragon to offset all the superhero action figures.
So, yeah, turning 30? Why should I sweat that when my inner child can still accurately measure his age with the fingers on one hand?
Contact Casey Phillips at cphillips@timesfree press.com or 423-757-6205. Follow him on Twitter at @PhillipsCTFP.