For the last couple weeks or so, I’ve been getting plenty of “reminders” that I turn 30 soon. Every time someone brings it up (and believe me…they do), the thing that really pops up in my head is Tim McGraw singing My Next 30 Years.So, inspired by the song, I thought I’d write about how I see my next Thirty Years…Of course, I had to search my Spotify today and play the song, just to see if I see the world differently now that I’m 30. – Honestly, it’s still a little hard to tell…It’s crazy to think that Tim McGraw and Phil Vassar released this song almost two decades ago. I was just 13 years old at Spring Branch Middle School when I first heard the song on the radio. And to think, in about a year I’d have my first drink at a high school party in Memorial.Life changed dramatically for me after that, and the second half of my “first 30” was a roller coaster… to say the least.With that said, I want to break down one of America’s greatest hits – My Next Thirty Years, and how it relates to my “journey”…if you can call it that.~“In my next thirty years I’m gonna have some fun. Try to forget about all the crazy things I’ve done. Maybe now I’ve conquered all my adolescent fears and I’ll do it better in my next thirty years.”I can see now that from about 14 and up, I became driven by what others think about me. I always felt inadequate; and I felt like I always had something to prove. That’s really where the addiction starts.If I wasn’t the tallest, the most athletic, or the smartest, I was sure as hell going to be the coolest. I’d out drink you, I’d out smoke you, and of course I’d out party you. So my drinking started as a way to fit in; but it became the only way I could cope and feel normal.And truthfully, even with five and half years sober now, I’m still driven by what others think. But now at least, I don’t try to prove my manhood by how fast I can shotgun a cold one, enter the world of oblivion, and shirk all my responsibilities. – No matter how much I tried that, I just couldn’t get it to work.In my next thirty years, I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to do this better if just hand my fear over to God… and not to the bottle. – Now “trying to forget all the crazy things I’ve done,” that’s the easy part… I don’t remember too much anyway.~“For my next thirty years I’m gonna watch my weight. Eat a few more salads and not stay up so late. Drink a little lemonade and not so many beers. Maybe I’ll remember my next thirty years.”The glorious days of Whataburger and milkshakes passing right through me are over. I used to consider pizza a fundamental part of my diet. I could lose weight with just a little cardio at the gym.But the closer I got to 30, the more I spiraled into shame, comforted by my good friends “chips” and “salsa.”So now, at 30 years old the dad bod has started… If only I could just let go of the A1 “Thick and Hearty.” – Maybe in my next 30 I’ll stick to a few more salads so I can look like Tim at age 50.
~“My next thirty years will be the best years of my life. Raise a little family and hang out with my wife. Spend precious moments with the ones that I hold dear. Make up for lost time here in my next thirty years. In my next thirty years.”I feel like my first thirty years consisted of “what can I do for me?” It was all about me, and I didn’t have others to think about yet.I could spend all my time trying to wrap my brain around what I can do to change the way I feel and get what I want. – That had to change, all that thinking about myself just made me nervous.And with all that “me obsessed” self-talk going on, all those little “precious” moments of my life were tainted and destroyed. It got so bad that I was only ok when I was under the influence of some type of cocktail or drug.Eventually I ended up alone, lost in my own thoughts, and consumed by fear and hopelessness.But, there’s hope. Yes, even for me…In my “Next Thirty,” I’ve been blessed with an amazing wife and a beautiful daughter who’s four weeks old. – So you can see why the song fits so well…Now, nobody’s perfect and neither am I (hard to believe, I know.) – I still get wrapped up in my own delusions and self-centeredness. It’s easy to do after all. That’s just part of doing the work I guess.But when I’m driving home from work after a hard day, overwhelmed by stress, and then I suddenly get a text from my wife with a picture of my daughter, Millie Jean; In those moments everything slips away, and nothing really matters.I feel like God has blessed me now. – Yes, me of all people.I have that amazing family that I could never have even dreamed of in my old condition. My recovery has given me the moments and miracles in my life back, and now I witness them every day as I watch my baby grow with my wife.Sooner than later, she’ll be turning 13 just like I did in 2000; and if she’s anything like me…. “Lord have mercy on my next thirty years.”