I'm Just 35.

I was rolling, showing my age, unshaven. 

So the hair doesn’t grow in places it used to, the pounds pack on faster than ever and my muscles hurt even after five minutes of sitting, but I’m thankful to have made it to 35. To be quite honest, I never knew what 35 would look like on me, because I never saw myself at 35. I either never wanted to be, or never expected that I’d live long for some odd reason, so I did my best to cram life into the moments I had. Then the years started to add up and I realized I may be around a little longer than I planned; those moments became minutes and soon became a collection of experiences meant to last a lifetime, and possibly beyond. When I look back at not only some of these experiences, but the people I’ve been fortunate to share many of these experiences with, I realize that I’m just 35 and there’s a lifetime of experiences still to be lived through.

I’ve learned what you want, you have to start first.

I’ve always been a dreamer; not the type that lives in delusions and invites you to visit, but I’ve always had goals that matched my abilities. Somewhere along the line, those goals and dreams began to take a backseat to practicality and the reality of bills. Perhaps I was a little scared of failure, or even worse, speaking those dreams aloud. It’s time to dream again. Give those dreams color, rescue them from the recesses of my mind and breathe life into them. I’m not sure what any of that means in this moment, but I’m just 35, I don’t think I’m too old to dream again.

Don’t be good my Nigga, be great!

I’m still a work in progress. I will always be. If I’ve learned anything in my near three years of marriage, it’s that being great at something takes daily effort. I always have to be better than I was yesterday. In other words, I always have to be my best self, the best representation of Al-Lateef Farmer. Over the last few years, I’ve made tremendous strides in being a better man, but there’s still a long way to go in consistently being at my best daily. At the midpoint between 30 and now, I took the risk of being better and now I want to be better than better, so I guess that’s great. That means many things on many levels, but I’m just 35, I have time to work it all out.

How many of us have them?

Some of my friends have been my friends for 30 years or more. Think about it, I’m 35 and I have friends that have been in my life for around 32 years. Take them away; there are others that I’ve known for over 27 years and we still kick it just because it’s Tuesday! I’m not sure my friends know the role they’ve played in my life; they’ve been a major part of every stage in my life and they all reflect a part of me, obscure or visible. They’ve meant more to me than I’ve been able to articulate and though I’m just 35, they’re much more than friends to me.

On a ?uest for love, like the “Proceed” drummer.

I’ve learned so much over the course of my life, much of it from the curiosity associated with observing life as it happens and that curiosity has resulted in a journey towards knowledge that I hope becomes wisdom. Part of accumulating “the knowing” of things is being able to share those things with others, especially when it can prevent them from making some of the mistakes I’ve made in the past or things I was able to avoid, simply because I could see the outcome. Unfortunately, while my journey was built around love, knowledge, freedom and ultimately God, some folks are fueled by an absence of other things that causes them to ignore what you’re trying to share with them. Go on, do it your way. What do I know, I’m just 35.

Now I’m standing here with this wedding band and I can say I knew love because of you.

When Sharea walked through that hospital door three and a half years ago, I knew she was the woman I was going to marry. I don’t believe either of us knew it would be eleven months later, we hadn’t even been on a date at that point, but I knew I wouldn’t let her walk out of my life. There was one thing; there was an expectation that came with dating Sharea that forced me to explore the ugly parts of me. Three and a half years later, that expectation still stands, along with the accountability of my vows. I’m a better man because of her. I’m a better man because of my marriage. Even though I’m just 35, can’t nobody tell me nothing about loving that woman!

On the shoulders of giants

In a way, I’ve always felt burdened by history, by the figures that’ve shaped the life I’m able to enjoy. The debt I can’t repay to those who gave more than they were required has sat at the front of my mind. The lives, deaths, memories and legacies of theses countless men and women are intrinsically connected to my path and deserve more than I’ve been able to give at times. To start, the word “nigga”, so conspicuous in my lexicon probably needs to be deleted. I start to flinch, as I try not to say it, but my lips is a like an oowop as I start to spray. Bear with me, I’m just 35.

What do you do, when you’ve done all you can?

You do it again if possible, just better and then explore until you find other ways to expend your energy and passion. I’m thankful for the blessing of 35 years to try to get this thing called life as close to right as possible, However, I thank God for the opportunity of 35 more years to pursue his role for me. I’m just 35, there’s a lot of life to be lived.

I'm just 35, there are so many things that I've lived and can't remember or shouldn't recall, yet so much that I should couch in the presence of anticipation. I've lived and learned, yet I haven't experienced and am ignorant to; in that sense, I'll just wait until the day comes, either 40 or 80, to recall when I was just 35 and waiting for the moment to...

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