Colbert: A quick reflection on 29 years

Today is my 29th birthday.

No, it’s not the milestone age that will roll around for me next Oct. 3, but it feels every bit as important. Today marks the beginning of my final year as a “twentysomething,” those magical years of adult youth, which are filled with more questions than answers.

I don’t despair over my 30th birthday. In fact, I look forward to that decade of my life, possibly more than I did this one. But with only 365 days separating me from the magical number I’ve long associated with old age — don’t worry, my definition of “old” has certainly evolved to mean something entirely different — I can’t help but look back on my 20s and wonder.

This isn’t so much a note of regret, but one of promise. Sure, I regret not spending a lot more time in the gym. I regret not asking out all those girls I’ve liked, leading to my perpetually single life. I regret not studying harder in school. I regret not going on more adventures.

I live with regret as much as the next person. But, regret doesn’t have to be a bad thing, if you are willing to learn from it. I don’t want my final year as a twentysomething to be about an end, but a beginning. It happens to coincide with my first year living in Aspen, a place that has stolen my heart after only two months of calling it home.

I can’t go back and change anything I’ve done — or not done — over my first 29 years. However, I can let those decisions dictate my future in a positive way. Think of it as a New Year’s resolution, only one I actually plan to follow through with.

The fact is, a year from now I’ll never be a twentysomething again. But until my birthday rolls around once more, I vow to make the most of my waning third decade on this planet. One thing I’ve noticed about people living the mountain lifestyle is youth is not seen as a number, but an attitude, a philosophy on how to go about one’s day, usually with enjoyment and vigor.

I’ve not lived my first 29 years this way, but as I head into my second winter in Colorado and the mountains, I can’t help but feel infected by the desire to follow suit. After all, we live here for a reason, and one of those reasons is to never let old age catch up to us.

I’ve never run even a 10k, but I’m going to. I’ve never gone rock climbing, but I’m going to. I’ve never summited a fourteener, but I’m going to. I haven’t been up before the sun to chase virgin powder in the bitter cold nearly enough times, but that is going to change.

Growing up in the flatlands, I was always drawn to the mountains and its way of life. I yearned to be part of that world, and it was only in the summer of 2015 when I moved to Steamboat Springs the I was able to make that a reality. I consider my many misadventures in Steamboat to have been training for my new life in Aspen.

Today, I am going to celebrate my 29th birthday, in some fashion. It won’t include anything more than a glance at the past. It will, however, include an ode to the future; to my further integration into the mountain life; and to the many youthful adventures that lay ahead, even after my inevitable 30th birthday a year from now.

So cheers to me, and cheers to you, Aspen, for being further inspiration in me becoming the merrymaking, mountain man I’ve always wanted to be.