OPINION COLUMNS

Happy birthday to me

By David Talley | Published Saturday, May 28, 2016
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When this paper hits newsstands and mailboxes, my birthday will have already come.

As of 2:12 Saturday morning, I’ll have completed 22 years on this Earth. And, in that time, I’ve gotten some solid birthday gifts.

Newborn David got a .410 shotgun (thanks, Dad). I didn’t have a lot of use for it then, but later in life, it was the gun with which I busted my first sporting clay. It’s a beautiful firearm, and one day I’ll pass it down to my kid.

David Talley

David Talley

Five-year-old David got a plastic shark pool toy. We didn’t have a pool, but I played with it in the bathtub a lot.

There’s a good chance I got Legos every year of my childhood. I have enough to support five trays under my bed.

Six-year-old David got a new bicycle from Mel’s bike shop in Decatur. I’d had other bikes, but this was my first from a real bike shop, rather than Wal-Mart. Thinking back, this could have been the bike that kicked off my interest in cycling.

Eight-year-old David got a fully-transformable Optimus Prime. He (do robots have genders?) could transform from a fire truck to robot to battle station all in a few steps.

Both 14- and 15-year-old David got trips to a rock climbing gym. These were some of my first “experience” birthdays. The family loaded up a group of friends and drove to the Metroplex, putting together a day of food and adventures.

As tangible objects have become irrelevant, these types of birthday celebrations have started to dominate my adult life.

At age 16, I got a car to drive and plenty of new responsibilities to go along with it.

Nineteen-year-old David got the money for half of an expensive racing bicycle. I earned the other half working a summer at Olive Garden.

Twenty-two-year-old David got a portable hammock. It’s one of the coolest gifts yet because it’s something I’ve been able to take on other adventures.

Those experience celebrations, whether they’re a fishing trip, a rock climbing excursion or just dinner with family, signify a shift in values – from objects to experiences, and most importantly, time.

That’s what 23-year-old David wants – more time. I’d like a full day of riding a bike in the Swiss Alps and a week of fly fishing with my dad and grandfather in Colorado.

This gift is unique because while I may not get the exact hours or location I’d like, I can experience and enjoy a version of those things. It can come in the form of an hour’s bike ride in the evening or a Saturday morning fishing with family at Lake Bridgeport.

So if you see me on a bike or with a fishing rod this year, be sure to say, “Happy Birthday.”

David Talley is a Messenger reporter. To celebrate his birthday, the newsroom staff gorged on a buffet of treats, all prepared in his honor.

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