Some of you may be aware of it, some may not. Either way, I had a birthday last tuesday. Not just any birthday, but a pretty big one.
The big 3-0, in fact.
I’ve had a few people tell me that I’m just a baby, and others tell me I’m getting old. The bottom line is that I feel the same as I felt when I was 29 (a little over a week ago now), so it really didn’t feel much different.
But it did give me a bit of pause while I sip on my beer this evening. Something to reflect on, if you will. I’m not one to typically dwell in the past, but I am one to look at the big picture, of how I am where I am, what learnings I’ve had along the way, and how I got here.
One thing I’ve definitely learned is that I like oak-aged beers, so we can start there.
Tonight’s selection is one of the Conflux Series from Deschutes Brewery. I’ve actually had the “#2″ from this series (which was with Boulevard Brewing) in the past, and it was a tasty ‘white ipa’ blend. This one is a deliciously rich oak-aged strong ale, which was a collaboration with Hair of the Dog Brewing.
It’s more than a little ironic that I’m drinking a beer called ‘collage’ while thinking back about the 50,000 foot view of the last 30 years of my life.
It sure has been a wild ride. One that, if anything, has sped up as of recent.
As I think back over the defining moments of my life, I actually come up a little blank. I think about where I am today, and the things that stick out in my mind are the people who have influenced me, not necessarily the events. Sure, the events were most definitely a result of the people I was around, and you can bet your ass that some of them stick out in my mind more than others. But, all of those tend to be a result of the company I keep, and to all those people, I offer a huge thank you.
From the teachers, to my parents, to the friends and even the foes, these people have defined who I am and where I’ve come to today.
The scoutmasters and boys in Troop 100 back in indiana who taught me valuable leadership skills, an insatiable love of the outdoors, and how to see something through to the end.
The guys at JL Waters who taught me how to roll a kayak, to shred a mountain bike, to lead trad climbs, and how to talk to anyone and everyone who walked into that store (and more importantly, how to spend an entire paycheck at the store that gave it to me).
My friends at RPI whom I learned how to really lead climb with, how to telemark ski with, how to take ridiculous road trips with, and how to rock out to Tenacious D and Weezer with.
My brothers at Chi Phi who taught me how to manage a fraternity of 30 guys, how to plan menus for 30 guys, how to work on a 100+ year old house, how to drink good beer (and bad beer), how to play foosball, and how to maintain a healthy balance of obsessive work habits and a laid back attitude in spite of all of it.
Rob, for getting me into brewing beer 7 years ago, and all the folks who have drank my beer who told me enough times that I should start a brewery that I finally am doing it.
Flagstaff, and all the people in it, who have shown me how rad Arizona can be, how amazingly fit the guy or girl next to you at the bar can be, how truly ingrained a love of the outdoors can be into somebody’s life, and how awesome it is to live in a little mountain town.
And, of course, my family for all the things that they have done for me over the years. My sister, for being my only sibling, whom I hated for the first 18 years of my life, and then became a great friend (and roommate for a while). My mom, for teaching me how to not take anything for granted, and for showing me that somebody can successfully pull off not cursing in front of their offspring for 20 years. My dad, for reversing all of that by cursing in front of my from a young age, for supporting me in everything I have done and will do, and giving me two pieces of advice I try not to forget: “don’t get caught”, and “this too shall pass”.
The people in my life define the the decisions I’ve made, the experiences that I’ve had, the place I’m at right now, and the path which lays in front of me for the future. That is why, to this day, I love meeting new people and catching up with old friends. Each encounter, in some way or another, adds a little footnote to the story of Nathan.
I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished in the past 30 years, but I dare say that the next 30 is going to be just as exciting.
I kicked it off this last weekend with a trip to Salida, Colorado to meet up with a bunch of friends. We rented a big cabin (which we later realized belonged to Jessica Biel’s parents), and had a blast. I had only been to Salida for the Vapor Trail in the past, but really enjoyed the town so I picked it as a good location for the celebration.
Some folks from colorado came down, some folks from flagstaff headed up there, and 3 of my good college friends (Jesse, Andy, and Nicole) flew out from the east coast. We spent the weekend drinking, hiking, biking, kayaking, and sitting in the hot tub. It was everything I could have wanted from a birthday party, that’s for sure.
I also got a bit of a birthday present from the city on the brewery front. I finally got some resolution to my permitting and building issues, and things are moving forward again. If all goes well, we’re actually going to start cutting concrete in the next week or two. Just in time too, because the brewhouse tanks arrived this morning.
Did I say the next 30 years were going to be just as exciting? Now that I think about it, I may just pack that excitement in the next 5 years……..