Posted by Stephen Petrey on Friday, January 15, 2021

I turned 32 a couple of days ago.

Just like last year, I’m late to writing about this birthday. Frankly, I was a bit overworked, anxious about the nation, and just flat out tired. It’s been exhausting, and we’re only two weeks into the new year.

I typically enjoy having my birthday in January, because it gives me an organic moment to pause and reflect on my past year of life. This time around the sun, my reflections probably don’t differ too much from your reflections. Mainly because, so much of this past year was frozen in quarantine after February 2020. Everything basically halted. Seeing friends, family, plans, short and long-term — it all came to a halt.

Later in the year, I had a corrective knee surgery to repair my femoral cartilage in my right knee (ouch!). I had to deal with a deformity I’ve been dealing with called Osteochondritis Dissecans. Its was not pleasant, but I was happy to have it fixed up. All thanks to a kind donor who died, and gifted me with a small piece of their cartilage so that I may walk normally again. So, listen up, y’all take care of your knees, ya hear? It was a dreadful recovery, but all is well now! I can walk normally again without pain. Given the pandemic, and social distancing, I wasn’t missing much during the recovery period. I’m very thankful I still have my job, and my health. That’s what matters most these days.

The world is still reckoning with a record number of people dying from Covid-19. Vaccinations are beginning here and there. With any luck, we may be able to see each other normally again in the fall of 2021 (well, what even is normal now?). As of writing, we’re still reeling from the failed white supremacist insurrection at the Capitol that happened just last week to overturn the election of Joe Biden. Not exactly positive news, but interestingly greenhouse gas emissions dropped 10% this past year due to the pandemic.

Lately, the future has been obfuscated by a very dense fog. It’s been scary. I’m angry, bummed, and disappointed I can’t see ahead. I so desperately want to charter plans. So much so, in fact, I drafted a bucket list for the first time.

My friends and peers are moving away from big cities like NYC and SF. Trading in their 1 Bedroom city apartment rent for a 2-3 Bedroom house mortgage with a backyard and car, in suburbs (or hell, even in exurbs in most cases). Some are moving back to their hometowns to pickup even cheaper living and planning their future work-from-home lives saving a pretty penny paying half the rent-price premium where the their job may be headquartered. Honestly, I’m envious. A part of me so desperately wants to relocate back home, to Texas. I definitely suffer from seasonal homesick-ness (I just need my Tex-Mex and open skies, and one-of-a-kind thunderstorms — Texas just ticks the boxes, what can I say). Another part of me calls out to New Mexico, to Colorado or even to California. Even climate havens regions are at the top of my mind these days.

I definitely don’t regret not moving in the midst of this crisis. This past year was difficult. I’m happy it wasn’t made more difficult! I’m just slightly jealous of those who made it work, and happy for those who embarked on a big change during the pandemic! That takes guts, and ambition. Tip of the hat to ya’ll 🤠

So, as you can imagine, I’m very much looking forward to receiving the vaccine. Excited to get back on track to making plans to visit or host friends, travel, and eager to build out a foundation for the next chapter in my life. Certainly eager to be groomsman in my brother’s wedding in November later this year! But I have a feeling, there will be big moves this year (physically, or emotionally or perhaps both). Maybe, that means moving away away from New York. Maybe that means moving to Austin. Maybe that means moving somewhere… unexpected. I really don’t know.

I’ve never been the superstitious type, but 32 does seem to have a certain roundness to it. It’s certainly an even number. Maybe, it’s my lucky number? Never really had one of those before. I don’t know if it’s mathematical, or if it’s the way the ‘3’ and ‘2’ glyphs sit next to it — but, 32 looks like a screaming eagle to me, beckoning for a reckoning I think. So, here’s to 32.

I guess I’m an adult now?


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