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Reflections on Turning 30 OR How I’ve Made a Fool of Myself for Three Decades!

February 26, 2013


Well, today I turned thirty (Feb 25th). When you leave your teens and enter your twenties it is usually greeted with a “BOO YA!!!!” Same with going from single digits to double digits (BOO YA!!!). Thirty is the first decade where you drop the “YA!!!” from “BOO.” As the decades pile on you begin adding more “Os” to your “BOO”.

I don’t feel old. And I definitely don’t look old. And in all honesty, I’m not really that old! But still, there is this nagging feeling that “man, I’m thirty….” Why is that?

People, assuming they aren’t Darwin award finalists, affected by Darwin award finalists, or get hit by some super Darwin disease bug, can live till their eighties on average. So I am still a decade away from being half way to the hereafter. So why is there this nagging feeling of being thirty?

I wonder if it’s because I can start to really appreciate that I’ve made a fool of myself for three decades? As I reflect back on my life and think of all the embarrassing moments I’ve had I want to crawl under a rock down under as far down and under that I can go.

And it’s not like making a fool of myself constantly happened when I was “younger” and now I am embarrassed by my foolish younger self. No, it sometimes seems like I am getting worse with time!

Recently I went to my church denomination’s General Assembly where all the Presbyterian churches in NZ gather together to vote on things. Pretty important event for us Presbyterians in NZ. But, given that I have no Presbyterian background and I am not from NZ I constantly made a fool of myself asking questions, making comments, and looking dumb. And given that every time one spoke one had to stand up in front of hundreds of people like in a 1800s school house and state your name and where you were from the embarrassment came all the more. This video encapsulates many of the comments I received as I quickly became known as “the Canadian from the Chinese church”:

And I can point to a long long long long long list of previous situations where I was all the fool.

But, on the flip side, I’m kind of glad I’ve been a fool who ask questions, makes comments, and looks dumb. Because through those lumps and bruises I’ve learned a lot. I learned more about the Presbyterian church during those few days at General Assembly then I would have ever learned in a classroom or if I had slept in my chair and not been involved.

I’ve made mistakes with my wife, my family, my friends, my church, my Christian faith, life decisions, money, and many more things. The General Assembly was only the most recent egregious example. But I’ve learned from it all. I’m much more wise now then I would be otherwise (and I still have a long way to go!). Now would I rather not have made a fool of myself these last three decades? Most definitely. But the wisdom I’ve gained has been priceless. I’m still a fool, but only to the power 10 instead of 100 (or at least I like to thinks so).



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