Thursday, November 08, 2007

Happy birthday to me: 10/20/30 years meme

I turn 35 today, which means that I am now eligible to run for president. But I will take this opportunity to formally declare my non-candidacy. However, this seems like a good occasion to comment on a meme that has been circulating the blogosphere: Where were you 10 years, 20 years and 30 years ago?

Let's see . . . I don't recall specifically what I did for my birthday ten years ago when I turned 25. It would have been my first birthday married to Ellen. We were living in our first apartment in Westmont, IL, and I was then a promotional writer for IVP, working on catalogs and ads and such. My first book, Singles at the Crossroads, had just been published. (I can't believe it's been ten years already - I think I may have been the second youngest IVP author ever at the time.) It's possible that we may have been volunteering as small group leaders at an InterVarsity student conference in downstate Illinois that weekend, but I'm not sure.

Twenty years ago in 1987 when I turned 15, I was a sophomore at Jefferson Senior High in Bloomington, Minnesota. I had just been baptized the previous summer, and with the shift from junior high to senior high, I stopped going by "Albert" (too geeky) and instead went by "Al" (which I thought was cooler and more fun). I also had gotten contact lenses to replace my glasses, which contributed to my identity shift. I think that fall was also the time when I wrote a bunch of short stories starring my friends and classmates. In one of them our honors English class was locked in the school as one of our classmates went psycho and killed us off one by one; another was a paranormal story where five of us got superpowers like telekinesis and astral projection (very Heroes-like, now that I think about it); yet another alternated between a fantasy Dungeons & Dragons motif and a sci-fi Star Trek world. Okay, so I was still pretty geeky.

Thirty years ago in 1977, I turned 5 while in kindergarten at Cedarcrest Elementary School on the east side of Bloomington. (The school closed a few years later, a casualty of the generational baby bust at the time, and eventually became an Assemblies of God church.) The only thing I really remember about kindergarten was that I got in trouble for talking too much and not paying attention in class. My memory may be fuzzy on this, but I think there was a little girl in particular that I was always causing trouble with. So my teacher put me and the girl in the school play as the kindergarten representatives to keep us occupied.

That's the best I can come up with without digging out my journals. Where were you 10, 20 and 30 years ago?


Anonymous said...

Just ran across your blog at (which I just joined). Reading your post I realized that we both grew up in the Twin Cities (for me, Coon Rapids). I like to refer to Christians from Minnesota as the "Frozen Chosen"!

I'm currently in St. Louis, MO working as a software engineer and writing my first fiction book.

Congratulations on being selected as a columnist for Christianity Today--and Happy Birthday!

Al Hsu said...

Thanks, Robert. I miss Minnesota lots!

Anonymous said...

Al - Thanks for sharing. I was tagged with this meme a week or so ago and haven't had the energy to dig in. Everytime I read another response like yours, however, it makes me excited to do it. Thanks for sharing your life.

Milton Stanley said...

Happy belated birthday.