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Column: Looking back, moving forward

I'm one month away from turning 30. It's an awkward but exciting time.

I think about useless bits of information I have picked up through the last decade.

All of it valuable.

Opinions formulated, personal values cemented.

I'm learning how to relax a bit. That 21 and 22 year-old male angst is gone. I can still get frustrated and angry but it's less frequent.

When I do, I try and say I'm sorry.

Sorry, Mom.

I try and laugh more. Find humor in the small things. Appreciate peace and quiet as equally as rock music.

I understand some things are out of my control. Though I may realize it after the fact.

Lessons learned. Some the hard way.

We spend our 20s plowing through the early stages of adulthood trying to keep our head above water. We know it's our time to make good on the promises we made to ourselves of finishing college and graduate school, traveling the world, and landing that first real job.

By 30 it's time to make good on other promises we've made. Mostly to the bank in order to pay off the debt we acquired while finishing college, graduating school, and traveling the world.

The realities begin to set in. We realize how short life can be, growing a bit older is a privilege not everyone is fortunate enough to experience. Lessons we may have learned the hard way.

By 30, we come to terms with the fact that we are our parents' children. We start to embrace the common sense approach to life, love and finances they use. After doing things our way for 10 years, we switch gears and come to terms with the fact their way just makes more sense.

They continue to teach us.

Approaching a new decade of life we look to the future. Successful careers, the possibility of starting families of our own, buying houses and saving for retirement are on the horizon.

A good night's sleep seems more practical than before. The latest fashion trends don't necessarily.

History becomes more relevant.

At 20 years old, I voted in my first presidential election. A controversial one decided by the Supreme Court. The consequences of their decision were epic, changing the direction, tone and credibility of this country for a long time.

At 21, we were attacked by a senseless act of violence. I'll always be able to say where I was the day those towers fell.

At 23, I protested the beginning of an illegal war based on false pretenses and propaganda, never dreaming it would last into my 30s. We were called unpatriotic for doing so. Turns out, for the first time in our short adult lives, we were right.

On my 25th birthday, a city was destroyed by a hurricane and we saw a glimpse of our country we weren't proud of.

At 28, my generation was responsible for creating history based on hope and change and a new vision of what America could be. A defining moment for the vast majority of twenty-somethings in this country.

By 29, an environmental disaster of a magnitude that will still affect our unborn children when they are 29 continues to occur.

Where we go from here is anyone's guess but I'm looking forward to it, while at the same time, learning from where we came. A decade called our 20s.