Time flies when you’re having fun. And somehow, without really realising it, I turned thirty years old.

I’d say I’ve come far from where I began — but though I’ve been a way, I came back, and now I’m not so very far away after all. I live in the same town; have the same comfortable life; have a son who for all the world looked at age one just like I did.

Me, age zero

I might have longer hair and smaller glasses, but the “me” I remember from age 10 is not so different to me now — we like computer games and robots and long walks on frosty winter afternoons, and I ended up with the career I always knew I’d have.

Me, age ten

And me at age 20, I remember him vividly. We still have the same friends, the same memories; we like the same films and most of the same music; we live for the light of the summer and the laughter of our friends.

Me, age twenty

And now I turn 30, surrounded by those same friends who have been with me so long, and the family who have been there even longer. I have a family of my own, and the cycle begins again.

I have a wife and a son, a home and a job; a family and a life just like those back where I began.

Me, age thirty

My parents told me a story once; how they had a plant they couldn’t identify growing in a pot on the front porch. One day, at last, it bloomed into flower — it was a lilac. My father brought the flower to my mother, who was in hospital about to have a child.

It was the beginning of May, of the year 1985.

Every year since, I’ve known that Spring was on its way by the pink and white blossom of the lilac trees. Thirty years I have counted this way, and many more I’ll count in years to come.

For the rest of my life and thousands more once I am gone, lilacs will be special to me and to countless others, as they announce the start of the year’s long warm days; the days we lived for, the light of the summer and the laughter of our friends.