Reflections On Life So Far: Turning 29

By Michael Gallo

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It’s my 29th birthday, and here I stand, a crazed writer with my toes on the precipice of the abyss. As I stare into the void, I wonder….what’s staring back?

Obviously as one turns 29 they’re going to devote an appropriate/unhealthy amount of time pondering what it will be like to turn 30. Will it really be that different? Will my life be over? Will I start waking up with even more aches and pains than I wake up with now (I’m what doctors call a sleep contortionist)? Will I ever stop self-medicating with Nepalese cough medicine made for Sherpas whose lungs have frozen on the summit of Everest?

As it stands, I don’t have the answers to any those questions, because I literally just turned 29 today. So instead of looking to the future, I think I am better served reflecting on the present. Am I happy with where I’m at, and what were the decisions and twists of fate that got me here?

I would argue that my entire life has been a series of misguided and costly decisions that constantly set me back and dug me into holes that I have an increasingly difficult time getting myself out of. But what’s most perplexing about the entire thing is that I love where I’m at right this moment. I feel poised to “Carpe Diem” as the Latvians say, which loosely translates to “seize the horse.” Or it might be “seizing horse”. Come to think of it, I’m almost positive it is, as the only Latvian I knew was a veterinarian who specialized in treating epileptic horses, so that would make sense. “We got another one, put a wallet in his mouth!” He would yell in a state of absolute panic. Lol, I wonder what happened to him after he got deported for illegally operating on stolen horses?

Anyway, I digress. About some of those decisions. In terms of girlfriends, I have a tendency to stay in toxic relationships for too long. I also tend to make idiotic decisions at the behest of these girlfriends. That’s why I quit a job two years ago that I never would have quit under normal circumstances. But had I not done that, I wouldn’t be where I am right this moment, doing what I’m doing. I would have continued to waste my life in another small town. I’m on an entirely different path right now, pursuing a graduate degree, driving this magazine into the ground, and pursuing real passions.

And some of the hard work has paid off. In the past year, I’ve made a significant chunk of change off of my art, I got paid good money to write, and the Barnyard Lampoon made it’s print debut (a debut that was called “threatening to the existing ideals of America” by Fox and Friends). In my humble and high opinion, I’m pursuing a lot of ambitious things that most 29-year-olds aren’t pursuing. Which is great, but that can be challenging at times. For instance, will I be able to remain consistent and maintain a high level of productivity in grad school? With questions like that, it seemed prophetic when I came across this video:

Yeah, that’s a Rolling Stone mini-doc about Rick Rubin starting Def Jam records in HIS COLLEGE DORM ROOM! If you look at the things he was doing at a young age, the challenges he overcame, and how successful he was despite the circumstances, it’s hard not to be awestruck.

Nothing could have been more perfect in this moment. Sure, I’m starting school, taking on debt and increasing responsibilities, but everything remains possible. It’s about how bad you want it, and what sort of effort you’re willing to put into it. Any moment can become a pivotal moment in history if you’re willing to put the work in and make that history. If Def Jam can start in a dorm room, Yellow Letter K Media and the Barnyard Lampoon can continue their ascent through grad school. Plus, I intend on making the circumstances work in my favor. I’m determined to find like-minded people who will help write, design, or edit the Barnyard Lampoon magazine. This won’t set me back, it will only make it better.

Rest assured, as I turn 29 I remain steadfast and vigilant. Thanks for reading.

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