Column: On my 35th birthday, there’s still so much to do

'Raising Prescott'

Emma, left, and A.J. sing "Happy Birthday" to Brian on Friday, July 14.

Irma Bergner/Courtesy

Emma, left, and A.J. sing "Happy Birthday" to Brian on Friday, July 14.

Another year in the books. Another year to be thankful for, and another year to look forward to. I turned 35 Friday.

Thirty-five!

It’s hard to fathom being a middle-aged man with a wife and two kids, one of which is ready for kindergarten in the fall, a house to take care of and two car payments to make.

Just over a decade ago the only responsibility burdening my daily routine of ramen noodles and video games consisted of making it to work on time and walking to the mail box.

It feels like yesterday I was walking across the stage at my high school graduation at the ripe old age of 18. I played my first college basketball game at 19, graduated college by 24, and was accepting my first gig as a sports writer shortly thereafter.

And for those of you currently screaming, “Hey, 35 is not middle aged, you’re still a young pup!” Well, that may be, but according to a recent study done by the University of Kent and revealed to the Economic and Social Research Council in London, the average person now believes youth ends at 35 and old age begins at 58. Therefore, all 23 of those years in between are middle aged!

Ouch.

As my kids sang happy birthday to me over a cupcake topped with candles and a rather large plastic toy ant on it (my son’s idea, thank you very much), I thought more about how lucky I was to have my family and all that I look forward to, rather than ponder how many years the calendar turned its page to July 14.

I’ve accomplished so much already in my life personally and professionally, far more than a goofy Milwaukeean youngster could have dreamed up. And I have so much more to do, so much more to strive for. I work hard every day to achieve my goals.

So when we opened my gifts – the newest Tom Clancy book and a neat-looking sports lamp (thank you darling) – for a second it felt like it was all about me.

Of course, my son brought me back down to earth by reminding me that the balloons for “Daddy’s birthday” were actually his and Emma’s, but they would share with me.

But that’s what being a father is all about, right? And hopefully, one day I’ll be singing happy 35th birthday to the two of them with a grandchild in each arm, because that’s all I really want for my birthday.

Brian M. Bergner Jr. is associate sports editor and a columnist for The Daily Courier. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram, Periscope and SoundCloud at @SportsWriter52, or on Facebook at @SportsAboveTheFold. Reach him at bbergner@prescottaz.com or 928-445-3333, ext. 1106.