I turned 29 today, in this, the year of Our Lord 2023.
I don’t have any particularly profound thoughts on 29. It’s a liminal year - next year I’ll be 30, hopefully with a kid in tow, I mostly see this year as continued preparatory work for when I finally have a family to call my own. But even though they’re prosaic, I do have a lot of things I’m quite proud of either doing or continuing this year, which I would like to share here, in roughly descending order.
I got married, to my darling wife Jenni, who I met back when I was 26, just before graduating college and just after we all realized this COVID-19 thing was going to be around for longer than anyone would have liked. By 27 I had graduated and moved to her tiny vacation town in Finland to be with her, against the advice of everyone I knew; by 28 I had finally gotten my own passport and had started to look for work to finally start my long-delayed career. And now by 29 it is finally clear to everyone else what I had known 3 years ago to this day: That this was the woman I was destined be with, til death do us part.1
I quit drinking, 316 days ago according to Beeminder, after roughly a decade of increasingly severe alcohol abuse. (Don’t get started on the irony of me moving to Finland and then quitting.) Alcoholism runs in my family, as it does in many Irish families, but luckily as I ran away from them I was also able to outrun the spirits that haunt them.
I got my first “real” job, then my second, although I put “real” in simulacra-quotes because between graduating college and Finland reopening its borders I did work in tech for 6 months in the States. I quit without notice the day I got the news on the grounds that these were interesting times and that you can probably get away with that kind of thing once or twice, at the very beginning of your career, especially if you don’t expect to carry any kind of professional network on from it.
The first ‘real’ job I had here was as a sysadmin, more specifically a cloud administrator at a very promising fintech firm, which rose phoenix-like out of the ashes of some of the stellar tech companies founded in Finland’s 1990s. It was not as difficult as I expected to pick up work in another country like this, starting over from scratch. My next job starts tomorrow, and I’m leapfrogging a few years of being ‘just’ a software engineer (not by choice, I love coding!) to go straight into being a team lead.
I cut contact with my parents, of which I am very proud of myself, and the details of why are things best left off the record here. If you are considering doing the same, know that you can have a full and happy life without their toxin blurring your vision and dulling your sense of smell, that it will likely come to you sooner than you think (it certainly did for me), and maybe read Issendai to see whether any of that stuff resonates.
You’re allowed to insist others treat you the way you treat them. Okay, that’s all. See you around.
Her first comment upon reading this: “Finally, I’m not like other girls” ↩︎