By Shamus Posted Sunday Aug 24, 2008

Filed under: Landmarks 100 comments

…is a lot of years to be old, or not, depending on who you ask. In any case, it’s how old I turn today.

Thirty seven? How did I get to be thirty seven? I have this vivid memory of standing outside my first-grade classroom, looking at all the other doors I’d never gone through. To my right was a door with a brass “6” affixed to the front. Grade six! I couldn’t imagine. Would I ever get there? It was eons into the future.

The distance between those two points – between grade one and grade six – seems much larger than the distance between right now and the point where I graduated from high school in 1990. It’s not just that things are speeding up, but the rate at which things are accelerating is also increasing. At this rate I’ll be fifty by Wednesday.

Pay this no mind. I have these little Almost Mid Life freakouts every year around my birthday. I’ll straighten out in a few days.

…Assuming I’m spared. You can’t plan too far ahead at my age.


From The Archives:

100 thoughts on “Thirty-Seven

  1. Zukhramm says:

    Conglaturation Shamus!

    And yes, it’s true. Every year is shorter than the previous one. Time is accelerating.

  2. The Nickster says:

    When I was your age I had to walk 5 miles barefoot in the snow uphill (BOTH WAYS!!!) before I could make a post on the internet.

    Anyways… Happy birthday!!!

  3. Viktor says:

    Happy birthday, you ol’ geezer. Don’t break your hip on the dance floor tonight.

  4. Yamael says:

    Happy Birthday Shamus!!

    I agree with you that each year feels shorter than the last, specially after each milestone in our lives. It feels like yesterday I was still in school, and now I’m about to get my engineering diploma and start working.

  5. ehlijen says:

    Back when I was your age, I had to walk 10 miles every morning just to get out of bed! And it was a waterbed! Have you ever tried walking on one of those?!

    Happy BD! (Happy I say! No worrying!)

    You’re only as old as you chose to be. If you don’t like 37, call it 25L. Or 30G. Or 18S.

  6. Happy birthday husband of mine.

  7. sporksmith says:

    Happy birthday, Shamus!

  8. Robert says:

    Happy birthday! Just hit the big 40 myself. I’m surprisingly calm about the accelerating deterioration of my body. You too will wince when you stand and sigh when you sit, and good luck whenever you try to take a…well. Happy birthday.

  9. Viktor says:

    Shamus, you’re not 37. You’re 21 in base 16. ;)

  10. concerned says:

    grats :)

  11. Illiterate says:

    Happy birthday, Shamus!

    “In a row?”

    “Hello old woman!”
    “Man, sorry.. it’s just from the back you–”
    “I’m 37!”
    “I’m 37, I’m not old…”
    “I couldn’t just call you man…”

    Perhaps the crowd here just has more class than the average webforum, but I can’t believe I was the first to the punch on either of those.

    Shamus, may you live to be 103 and still have the wit to grind out code and blogs! What you do here is appreciated.

  12. Craig says:

    I’m twenty. God I feel so young and full of life and vigor. Wow this is awesome.

    ‘Course, then again, I have to deal with all the crazy emotions of youth, but meh. Better to waste your gifts than wish you had ’em.

  13. Target says:

    Happy BDay!

  14. Jim says:

    This is a prime-number year for you, you’re good as gold!


  15. Ian B. says:

    Happy birthday, Shamus! :D

    “In a row?”

    Yes yes, that’s the first thing to go through my head, as well… XD

  16. In 1977 I was 10 years old, sitting in Ms. Bloom’s 4th grade class trying to figure out how old I would be in the year 2000.

    “33 years old? Wow. That’s old!”

    Now it’s 2008, I’m 41 years old and 33 seems pretty young.

    Happy Birthday, Shamus. Are you going to do anything fun for your solar rotation anniversary?


  17. AngiePen says:

    Hey, Happy Birthday! I hope you have a great day and get lots of cool loot! :D

    Just as a data point, I’m forty-five and don’t feel particularly old. Not young either, but the middle is a comfortable place to be. It depends on you, really — if you feel good then it doesn’t matter how old you are, and if you feel bad then it doesn’t matter how young you are. Your life is whatever you make of it. Trite, perhaps, but still true.


  18. Don J says:

    Happy Birthday Shamus!

    Curse my pedanticism. I can’t let it go.

    @Viktor: He’s 25 in base 16. 21 in base 18. Unless I’m having a much worse math day than I am thinking you are…

  19. Will says:

    “I'm 37, I'm not old…”

    I used that line. A lot. Four years ago. Drat.

    Happy Birthday and Keep Smiling!

  20. PDClone says:

    Shamus: ding
    Everyone: gz

    Since you played WoW, you should probably know what that means.

  21. empty_other says:

    The years are going faster? Want to make time go slower? Join the army! A year will feel like five years!

    Anyway, gz with another level!

  22. Agaib says:

    Happy Birthday!

    You’re not old in my book until you’re fifty! Good luck until then.

  23. lebkin says:


    Congratulations on surviving another year. Maybe the next one be your very best.

  24. pl says:

    “Happy Birthday Shamus!

    Curse my pedanticism. I can't let it go.

    @Viktor: He's 25 in base 16. 21 in base 18. Unless I'm having a much worse math day than I am thinking you are…”

    I think the word is “pedantry.”


  25. Joerg Mosthaf says:

    Happy Birthday from me, too.
    I’ll be following you next year :)

  26. McNutcase says:

    I keep being surprised that I turn 28 this year, that I’m married (how can I possibly be married?) and that I actually act responsibly and don’t buy every cool sourcebook that comes my way.

    Although, that copy of Sundered Skies is looking very nice…

  27. Logicaly Random says:

    Happy B-day, Shamus. Just remember, 37 in binary is 0011001100110111, which you could pass off as nine, if you wanted.

    Also, semi-related note: assuming no one comments while I’m writing this, I’d be the 24th comment. the odds that a group of people 24 have the same birthday? Slightly over 50%. We share the same B-day, so the laws of chance strike again. Just though it was interesting.

    edit: 26th comment. The odds would be about 60%.

  28. Rick Tacular says:

    Happy Birthday! Yeah, we don’t *feel* 37, do we? *wistfully remembers the Safety Dance*

  29. Kel'Thuzad says:

    Happy birthday Shamus.
    May your power of sarcasm never wane.
    Yada yada blah, etc.

  30. Dacendaran says:

    Happy birthday Shamus. Hopefully this year will be better than all the rest combined.

  31. Joshua says:

    Bah, someone beat me to it.

    I was going to say that you can choose from a variety of ages, all you have to do is choose which base you want!

    You could be younger in base 18; 21!

    Or you could be (much) older in base 2; 100101!

    PS: Egad at the new category images! I’m glad it’s not all anime characters anymore, but something about it just doesn’t seem right. I can’t put my finger on it, though.

  32. Justin says:

    Happy birthday Shamus. Go ahead and hike your pants up to your armpits and buy 1 prune with a coupon and hunt around for exact change. No? Well then you aren’t that old yet!

    I hope your next year is even better than its predecessor.

  33. Nazgul says:

    Happy birthday! I’m already looking forward to your 40th-birthday freakout post. :D

    By the way, I’ve noticed that you’ve started posting on weekends pretty regularly of late… I don’t know if that’s part of some sort of uber-nerdy midlife crisis effect, but thanks anyway!

  34. Gothmog says:

    Happy Birthday, Shamus! :D

  35. Captain Kail says:

    Wow, what’s with all the OLD people on this blog? :P

    Happy birthday Shamus, looking forward to another year of your blog!

  36. Xinem says:

    Happy birthday, Shamus!

  37. Allen says:

    Crap, I didn’t want to comment, because there was 37 already, and I found it amusing.

    Oh, well, happy birthday, at least you’re not forty.

  38. R4byde says:

    Happy Birthday, Shamus!

    *Snickers* Your my age times two plus one, damn you really are OLD!

  39. Rustybadger says:

    Happy birthday- Dennis!

    As for walking uphill in the snow:

    “And you try and tell the young people of today that ….. they won’t believe you.”

  40. Alleyoop says:

    Happy birthday, Shamus, and just remember you’ll always be younger than somebody…like me. I got five some years on ya.

    Youngster. ;)

  41. tom says:

    Happy birthday! I hope your year is good, but not the best, otherwise you would never have a better year.

  42. ngthagg says:

    Happy Birthday! May all kids stay off your lawn!

  43. Helm says:

    *weeps* you’re 10 years TEN FUCKING YEARS younger than me, meh this youth thing I don’t hold with it. I didn’t go round being young when I was a boy

  44. Evil Otto says:

    Allow me to quote a song you might be familiar with:

    You’re older than you’ve ever been
    and now you’re even older
    and now you’re even older
    and now you’re even older

    Seriously, though, happy b-day!

  45. Nilus says:

    You wanna talk about a pseudo Mid-Life crisis. In the span of one year(in chronological order). I got Married, Got my wife pregnant(Honeymoon Baby), bought a house, Got some ulcers, Had the Baby, And then to cap off the year span I turned 30(and sprouted my first grey hair).

    Congrats on the big 37, Its not that old. Its not all downhill till you hit 40. So you got 3 good years left in ya. :)

  46. Rich says:

    Happy Birthday, man. Hope you’re feeling better lately.

  47. Matt` says:

    Time accelerates like that because as you get older, any given span of time is a smaller proportion of the time you’ve already seen go by.

    Example – at age 5, a month is 1/60th of your time so far, and seems like a fairly long time. When you get to 50, an equivalent span of time is 10 months, which to the 5 year old would seem like forever and a day.

  48. xbolt says:

    Happy Birthday, Shamus!

  49. Marc Majcher says:

    Hey, you’re exactly one year younger than me. Happy birthday to us.

  50. If you really want to feel old, I recommend gaining a bunch of weight. Then you’ll feel great when you lose it again. :D

    I managed the first part, still working on the second.

  51. RichardB says:

    Happy Birthday! (From a 41-year-old, if that makes you feel better.)

    My take on the acceleration of time is this: we actually perceive time in terms of percentage addition to life experience (which I’ll multiply by 100 and call XP for illustration). So as we get older the body of life experience against which we perceive the past year increases, diminishing the perceived duration of the past year.

    So, when you compare aged 1 to aged 2, your life experience has doubled: 5,000XP. Man, that must have felt like an eternity. Aged 10 to aged 11? you just added 1,000XP: that’s quite a lot. Aged 40 to aged 41 is an extra 250XP: gosh, that really flew by me.

    If I were less senile and more sober I could probably concoct a really compelling analogy to Zeno’s paradox.

  52. Gorbashin says:

    Nice to see someone a WHOLE DECADE older than me still rocking out the video games…albeit probably with less hand-eye coordination. :P

    Seriously though, happy birthday dude. May you live to see full 3D virtual home gaming consoles and have grandkids that boggle at the concept of the ‘joystick’ and the ‘dpad’.

  53. Alexis says:

    @pl#24: think about what you just did :D

    Happy birthday Shamus.

  54. Rev_Blacky says:

    Happy birthday young whippersnapper!
    I got ya a stripper!

  55. EksFaktr says:

    My favorite Pink Floyd quote comes to mind at this time… come to think of it, every year I have a birthday also (‘course I’m only just this year at the ripe young age of 23, but still….)

    “Every year is getting shorter / never seem to find the time / plans that either come to naught / or half a page of scribbled lines / hanging on in quiet des-/peration is the English way / the time is done, the song is over / thought I’d something more to say.”

  56. Maddy says:

    Congrats. I remember 37. Enjoy your youth while you can. :)

  57. says:

    Happy birthday Shamus! And remember, take care of your health, you can’t respawn in real life :)

  58. Kevin says:

    Happy birthday, boy.

    I can’t speak for the rest of this lot, but so far looking back over my life, I’ve enjoyed every year more than the last. I live with the constant knowledge that no matter how wonderful today is, the best is always yet to come, … and you should too.

    We live in amazing times.

  59. MikeSSJ says:

    Happy Birthday, Shamus!

    So you’re the type that’s pretty conscious about their age? I’m the complete opposite – I tend to forget how old I am quite often, causing me to start calculating and comparing the current date to the date of my birth >_<

  60. DarkLadyWolf says:

    Hippo Birdie and all that.

    Thirty Seven is a good age. I know this from current experience.

    Actually, it’s strange to find that someone who’s work I regularly read is the same age as me. I expect them to be older or younger, for No Good Reason.

    And thank you for the entertainment!

  61. Joshua says:


    2^6 comments (at time of writing)?

    I’ve never seen a comment count displayed as an exponent.

  62. Galenor says:

    Happy Birthday Shamus!

    Wow. 37 sounds like a long way off for me, who has only barely made a mark on the Earth’s surface with all of his 19 years of living on it. I better beware what i say, however – I don’t want to merely blink, and find myself blowing out fifty candles!

  63. RichardB says:


    I tend to forget how old I am quite often, causing me to start calculating

    Yup, that kicked in for me in the 2nd half of my 30s. In fact I was once on a jury where it happened to a witness. Counsel asked “How old are you?” and the witness said “thirty-umm” and blanked. The judge, clearly used to it, intervened by asking “what year were you born?”, which the witness answered immediately.

    I have a ($DEITY)son who was born on Valentine’s Day 2000. Lucky boy, he gets easy math plus (I hope for him) some really good birthday presents in later life.

  64. Aires says:

    Congratulations, Shamus! May there be many more to come.
    I wouldn’t worry about getting old, if I were you. You’ll always be immortal, right until the end :P

  65. neminem says:

    Yup, everyone does that. As us weird science-majoring people would say, as you get older, not only does the first derivative of the subjective speed of time progressing get faster, the second derivative does, too. I’m only 23, but it certainly feels like my entire college career lasted about as long as my senior year of high school. And now I’ve already been out of college for most of a year? That just doesn’t compute. I can hardly imagine how faster time will feel like it’s going when I’m 37.

    But, happy birthday, I guess.

  66. Galen says:

    I’m finding it weird that you’re not ten, but 20 years older than me. And everyone else is apparently even OLDER! Oh well. Happy Birthday anyway!

  67. Thomas says:

    happy berfday, Shamus

  68. Patrick the Irate says:

    37? Isn’t that like 12 in fag years?

  69. Mari says:

    A dollar short and a day late as always, but happy belated birthday, Shamus. May the grace with which you’re growing ancient inspire the same in me. I’m only 31. Practically a kid. Or so I keep telling myself every time I pluck a gray hair ;-)

  70. hotsauce says:

    One of the worst things about turning 38 was that I could no longer say “I’m 37, I’m not old!” Y’know, like Dennis.

  71. K says:

    “Grats”, as we say in MMO-Speak ;)

  72. Darin says:

    I can’t believe nobody’s stated this yet:

    Life is like a roll of toilet paper; it goes faster the closer you get to the end.

    I’m actually looking forward to a Mid Life Crisis, being a mere three years behind Shamus. Hopefully, it’ll beat the nostalgia induced panic attacks I had for a few months this last year. Don’t know what brought that on. Weird though, and loads of fun laughing at myself in the morning.

  73. Veylon says:

    Happy Birthday! It’s mine, too. I’m 26 now.

  74. GAZZA says:

    Self indulgent much, Shamus? :)

    Happy birthday mate – I’m a year and 3 days behind you.

  75. Jansolo says:

    Happy Birthday.

    I’m 35 since august 12th. I’m think about the relative speed of the time during the rest of the year.

    But I enjoy my birthday and the presents I receive (a wonderful 22″ wide monitor for instance)

  76. RibbitRibbit says:

    Happy Birthday man.

    I was a kid not too long ago, now I have kids of my own. Age is a strange thing. Also wonderful.

  77. ClearWater says:


    Got any cool new skills?

  78. Kennet says:

    I was filling out one of those “Prove your age by telling us how old you are” thingies the other day and my plan was to just write a silly high number just for the fun of it (ok, not that much fun, but it’s the thought that counts).
    I ended up on 27 and a split second after I realized that “s#¤%, I am actually 26. But I was just 22 yesterday, wasn’t I?”

    Oh, and, by the way, I am not trying to say that you are old or anything like that. I’m just saying that I am beginning to realize how age can sneak up on you ;)

    Happy birthday.

  79. DaveMc says:

    Aha, I think we’re getting some insight into why the discussions here seem so mature compared to other places in the wilds of the network: half the commenters are so mature that we’ve practically expired. (I’m 38, a number with nothing interesting about it that I can find. At least 37 is prime, so you can make “prime of life” jokes, though not very good ones.)

  80. froogger says:

    Congratulations and welcome to the club, I beat you by a month.

    No reason to panic about the age though. Sure there’s lots you want to do and yes, you will die eventually. However, being a man of reason I am sure you will appreciate the fact that one year doesn’t really add that much, statistically. Do some maths and throw unnatural deaths into the equation and you’ll see the one year don’t really bring you that much closer to the finishing line. If that doesn’t help, consider the fancrowd you have here. And if that doesn’t warm your cockles enough, buy an mc and a leatherjacket :)

  81. Zaxares says:

    Happy Birthday Shamus! :D

    At 27, I guess that makes me one of the younger folks in the crowd here.

  82. Kadea says:

    Happy Belated Birthday Shamus!!!

  83. Ishmael says:

    Damn you and damn your blog. I’d been clean for months, and then yesterday (yes, YESTERDAY) I decided “Why not just have a quick look. Oh hey, he started AND stopped playing WoW since I last read? TPM chip, what’s that?”

    Now it is 6:30am THE NEXT DAY and my eyes are burning and I think several important sections of my brain have liquified.

    My only recourse will be to sue you on the grounds that you are exploiting obsessive-compulsives by posting awesome things that contain within them links to other awesome things. I expect a big settlement, especially when I start citing the emotional damages.

    (PS: Happy birthday, I hate you.)

  84. Reluctant DM says:

    Happy b-day shamus! Thanks for another year of excellent funnies! :)

  85. John says:

    @Ishmael: HAHAHAHAAHA!!! …. “Happy birthday, I hate you” just made me laugh. I’ve got a little over a year on ya, mate, so, along with some of these “I’m older”posts, hopefully that makes you feel a little better. =)

  86. The Lone Duck says:

    Happy Belated birthday!

  87. Emperor4Hire says:

    Don’t sweat it dude. You’ve got the hip geek lifestyle blog goin on so in my books you’re a youngin’!!!
    P.S my birthday is today and I also get that feeling of where did the time go!!

  88. Javaboy says:

    A belated Happy Birthday!

  89. Don says:

    Happy belated birthday, kid. You’re one-third the way to eleventy-one.

  90. DaveMc says:

    Hey, DaveMc, are you saying that only older people can have mature discussions, you jerk?

    No, no. I should have added that this site attracts an unusually civil class of whippersnapper, too. And I assume they will be extra-careful now that they know how old so many of us are, fearful lest they cause our ancient hearts to stop with an incautious word.

  91. Christian Groff says:

    I’m two years younger than you, and I try not to worry about the future. Yeah, I know in five or ten years or who knows how long, assuming my folks keep their health up, mom and dad will be buried in a cemetery and I won’t have any one to turn too to take me to the grocery store to buy food to eat, and I’ll have to leave the house I’m in and probably move in with one of my sisters because I can’t live without someone to be my chaffeur…

    Oh sorry, didn’t mean to be depressing. But yeah, you think you live forever, and then you’re old and in a hospital bed, with an IV in your arm, and you think, holy cow, where did all my youth go?

    Sorry again. Amyways, happy birthday, Shamus! ^_^

  92. Mark says:

    It's not just that things are speeding up, but the rate at which things are accelerating is also increasing. At this rate I'll be fifty by Wednesday.

    I’m reminded of that episode of Futurama where time is leaping forward…

    “At this rate, by Tuesday it’ll be Thursday, by Wednesday it’ll be August, and by Thursday it’ll be the end of existence as we know it!”

  93. Sharon says:

    If you want time to slow down, I suggest the experience of birthing labor.

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