Number 39

February 15, 2008 1:50 a.m.

Each year I allow myself this indulgence. Today’s my birthday. I am turning 39. I can’t tell whether that number sounds newly old to me or not. It seems a touch alien to me in a way that 37 and 38 didn’t. But as Seneca says, Fate leads the willing and drags the unwilling. So I guess it doesn’t really matter.

The primary season is an exciting time for any political journalist. But it’s also a turbulent one running a site like this because the divisions and emotions of our readership become so intense that a lot of the acrimony inevitably laps up on to us.

But I will say that notwithstanding the real stresses of running this operation I feel a new contentment with my life. I like what I do. I’m proud of the team that puts this site together every day. I just found out that TPM won an award for its reporting on the US Attorney Purge scandal, which is nice to hear. And I’ve been trying to let go of things, which is contrary to my nature. But I think most of all because of my wife and my son, who in addition to being this amazing, rambunctious little person, is allowing me to fit my own life better into a context of impermanent things, invest myself in his just started as opposed to my half-run race. But beyond all those organized thoughts I find fatherhood simply a mystery, a very concrete one I find sitting in my bed in front of me each morning, but one that hits me in some suddenly brand new way several times a day and has wrapped me into a kind of love and devotion completely different from anything I’ve ever experienced before and something I really wasn’t able to imagine or get close to beforehand.

I don’t like it when people project their own experiences into a template for other peoples lives. But speaking for myself I do not think I could feel complete as a person, fully accept this boundedness as a person, or fully know what it was to be one without the turned-upside-down experience I’m having as a father.

In a few months my wife is going to give birth to our second son. So I’m looking forward to more of this.

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