In January I applied for my hunting/fishing license, and, as I do every year, I cringed when I filled in the number of years I’ve been an Alaska resident. I cringe, because for this particular document I can only record the number of years I’ve been a resident this time. That doesn’t sit well with me.
I was born in Fairbanks, Alaska, and lived much of my young life in the state, with a gap of about 7 years or so. I am an admitted Alaskan chauvinist, so the time in Alaska has been far more important to me than those and subsequent years after college when I lived “outside” in the lower 48.
Several years ago, I counted as carefully as I could the total time I’d lived in Alaska. That calculation pointed to today, February 12th, as my best-guess “anniversary.” As of today, by my count, I have lived a total of 32 years in Alaska.
This used to be somewhat of a big deal, for a brief period. When the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend first started, the amount each Alaskan received annually depended on how many years they’d lived in Alaska, total. Soon after it began, a lawsuit put an end to that, creating the new system under which one need only be a resident for a year. I really liked the old way—partly because it gave me a pretty decent amount at the time, but also because I liked the idea of being rewarded according to your dedication to living in Alaska.
Now, of course, it’s merely a personal conceit. Even so, if I may: happy anniversary to me!