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Your obligatory birthday post: 25 is the new 40

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I'm 15-years-old and I'm sitting in my freshman English class. We're writing down where we will be in ten years.

I don't know where I am going to be in 10 years, let alone two weeks from now. The girl I have a crush on asks me what I wrote down. It's only the third time she's talked to me all trimester semester.

I've never initiated. And I'm nervous.

So I show her what I wrote.

There, in a awkward pubescent print, is this sentence:

"In ten years I will be a writer. I will live in a big city. Maybe New York. I hope I'm happy."

kylekoster.jpg It's Election night.

I'm sitting at a computer, watching with the rest of America as the historic returns come in.

I'm picking a photo to document Barack Obama's victory. I'm writing a caption about what is going on. It's very loud, very chaotic and people are yelling all around me.

We are reporting the news.

Grant Park is teeming with people. Everyone is excited. I don't care about politics, but I'm excited too.

It's been almost 10 years since I wrote that awkward prediction in English class. A lot has happened.

Some of it has been bad. But I wouldn't change any of it.

I'm right where I'd wanted to be.

I realize how lucky I am. I try to appreciate all of the good fortune that has come my way.

I wonder how many people can say that. I'm happy I live in a world where anyone can.

I think about that piece of paper.

Thumbnail image for sportsprose.jpgKevin and I are at U.S. Cellular Field.

We have a hand-held video camera and we are interviewing White Sox fans after the division tiebreaker victory over the Minnesota Twins.

Each one is more drunk than the next.

One gives me a high-five.

I ask him what he thought about the thrilling 1-0 victory.

He slurs something about Jim Thome. And he wants another high-five. I give it to him.

None of the footage is usable.

It doesn't really matter. We'll post something stupid about Erin Andrews. It will be alright.

No one reads this stuff, anyway.

I think about that piece of paper.

Thumbnail image for vampire weekend.jpgI'm at the Vampire Weekend show at Metro. It's an unseasonably warm Sunday in April.

They're playing "A-Punk." I know the words to this one.

Everyone else here looks cooler than me, but I don't really mind.

I couldn't get anyone to go with me, but I don't really mind.

Ezra Koening and his band finish their crisp, hour-long show. I walk home down Sheffield listening to their debut album on a scratched-up Ipod. I think of a lede and write it on my arm in blue pen so I don't forget it when I get home.

It washes off in the shower the next morning and appears in the paper the morning after that.

I think about that piece of paper.

***** ***** ******

From an early age, it was ingrained into me to periodically stop and take stock of my life and the world around me. And today, on the 25th anniversary of my birth, I can honestly look around and say I'm happy, grateful and humbled to be surrounded by such great people and privy to so many blessings.

The memory of that somewhat silly ninth-grade activity came back to me tonight as I was riding a Brown Line train home from work after a particularly hellish evening. The kind of night that would make lesser men -- or more honest men -- invoke an Alan Jackson lyric of woe and zest for drinking.

But a funny thing happened to the really perturbed guy who got on at the Merchandise Mart.

He turned into a very realistic and content guy by the time he got home.

Admittedly, no one cares about this post. I certainly wouldn't be held hostage by the long-winding musings of someone I didn't know reflecting on their place in the world on a particular day. However, the very fact that I have this instrument with which to voice my opinion is paramount to the overarching feeling of satisfaction being felt today.

In short, life's been good to me.

It's damn time I acknowledge that and thank those responsible.

And I'm writing down where I'll be in ten years, not telling anyone and keeping it around for safe-keeping. After all, how you get some place is just as important as they fact you are there.

So, to the people who've made the first quarter century work: I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

To those who will mold the next 25 years: Can't wait to meet you.

I'm Kyle.

I'm sort of a writer.

Chicago's a big city.

Very, very happy to be here.

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Great piece Kyle. Proud as ever. Happy Birthday.

Happy 25, good buddy.

So where will you be in 10 years?

Kyle responds Anywhere that will have me, blog brother.

Good stuff, I remember Gillette though I don't recall ever doing that assignment. It was good playin ball with you all those years and I hope my overexcited play of the game and extreme contempt for all officials didnt upset you too much as a coach, player or friend.

Keep up the witty hot beats...

I can relate as I just turned 25 four days ago. As someone older, I have realized that reflecting is great, especially if you're as lucky as we are. I'm happy that I've had the privilege to be such a big part or your life and you mine. I hope in ten years you will be my neighbor in New York or if not I hope you are happy in whatever you are doing and that we are still great friends. For now celebrate your day! Wish I could be there to celebrate with. Love you and miss you. Happy Birthday!

Kyle: I don't believe FHN was ever on trimesters, but maybe I'm just getting older way faster than you and I've just forgotten. Happy birthday, and congratulations on all your success!

Kyle responds: Thanks so much. What you're telling me is that my memory is slipping? It begins....

Well, we thought we had an excavating company president but got a writer instead, who knew. It's been a lot of fun watching you get where you are going and are hoping the next 25 years are just as fun! We are so glad that you have not forgotten where you came from on the way to where you are going. That is an admirable quality indeed. I am very proud of you and wish you a very happy birthday!

Cheers to another 25, Kyle. Thanks for the honest perspective.

Kyle responds: Good to hear from you, Tom. Hope all is well. When are you appearing on Next Top Comic? McWhirter and I anxiously await.

I like to think that a certain experience involving footlong hot dogs, a laser light show, late-night pizza, and some towels that ended up in the dumpster somehow helped form you into the fine man you are now. Happy Birthday!!!

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This page contains a single entry by Kyle Koster published on January 8, 2009 8:38 PM.

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