33Yesterday I got a nice note from a publisher in Germany wishing me a happy 33rd birthday. He called 33 a repdigit. He told me that the translation of “repdigit” in Germany is hilarious. I’ll have to take his word for it.

Anyhow, he got me thinking about repdigits.


I was carefree. I spent my days pounding the pavement of our basketball court, driving a Go-Kart around the dirt track in our field, and playing TECMO Bowl (the first awesome football video game.)


Oh my God! Oh my God! I’m almost an adult! Or am I an adult? I think 22 has to be the scariest age in which you aren’t worried about dying. In a sense, your childhood has started to fade a way and responsibilities come into focus. Of course, I was still able to push off many of those responsibilities for another 6 years or so, but that didn’t mean that they still didn’t scare the shit out of me.


I have created life! Twice! And these little creatures that call me “Dada” are needy. They need comforted at all hours of the night. They need food and shelter. And someday they’ll be 11 and need basketballs and video games. And someday they’ll be 22 and I’ll see their eyes quivering with excitement, fear, and growing pains of expectation and regret.

At 11 I couldn’t imagine being 22. At 22 I couldn’t imagine being 33. And now I look at those who are 44 and can’t imagine what life will be like. My heart hurts thinking about releasing my kids into a world with name calling bullies, and test scores and game scores and other such judgments. I’m ready for them to sleep through the night, but I’m not ready for them to grow up to a size that I can’t hold them, and to a self-awareness in which they won’t run into my arms with hugs and kisses when I walk in the door.

I’m not ready for 44. Heck, I’m not ready for 34. But I can assure you that I will be. 33 is where I’m supposed to be. 33 is excitement about a growing career. It’s moments of contentment between stretches of exhaustion. It’s 2 kids and 6 trips up the stairs to comfort them. It’s being in the trenches of early parenthood with my wife who knew me and has grown with me since I was 11 and 22.

What does 33 look like to you?

Charlene Ashendorf says:

Happy 33 Mr. Timmerman! My husband has developed a theory on celebrating life milestones by the 10,000 day approach. You reach 10,000 days— you are preparing for your life. Your next milestone is 20,000 days — doing it, living it! The next mark is 30,000 you’ve arrived and are in the bonus days! We have such fun in our family celebrating members DAYS! Recount the steps to preparation, etc.

Kelsey, you will be ready for 44 when it arrives. You will be astonished when you roll into 55 and by 66 you’ll be bouncing grandchildren on your knee. Life gets better as long as you live it. 🙂

To me 33 looks like a fond memory. And I was 33 for 15 years!

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