Well, today’s the day. My forty-fifth birthday. If I live to ninety — which I think is unlikely due to my wild and woolly past — my life is half over. Will the next forty-five years be as good as the last forty-five? I can only imagine how they could be. I hope all goes well. I still have some good times to look forward to provided something doesn’t come along to ruin my fun. If you’ll indulge me, I’m going to wax retrospectively and offer insight. Time to share.
Age hurts a bit
To get the negative side out of the way quickly, I need to say when you get to my age you have to start thinking before you leap. I’m not as bouncy and resilient as I used to be. I’m prone to hurting my back now if I twist or turn the wrong way too quickly. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not feeble, weak, or damaged goods, but I am starting to feel the effects of entering the Late Summer/Autumn of my life. I now wear out a little more quickly than I used to. My age is starting to show, too. My hair, what’s left of it anyway, is dark brown with gray mixed in. It comes with the territory. In the fall the leaves begin to turn color; that’s what’s happening to me. It’ll happen to you, too.
Come this September I’ll have been married for twenty-one years. With pride I’d like to mention that this is marriage number one for both my wife and I. It seems as if we chose right the first time; we’re still happy with each other, we get along great, we work (at my fifteen-year-old company) and play together, we’re best friends, and we’re close partners in the game of life. It seems that in this day and age a twenty-one year marriage is just short of a miracle, but that’s because many quit on each other way to quickly, and that’s a shame. My wife and I seem to be the exception. Just as you can be.
Kids are pain and joy
Our two kids are almost out of the picture, at least on the day-to-day level of cohabitation. They will move out soon and sometime thereafter likely start families of their own. I’m not sure if I’ve said it enough, but I’ll say now: I love both of my children and despite any shortcomings and imperfections they may have shown in the past, do now, and will in the future, I’m proud of them both, I love them both, and I have no regrets. Neither does my wife. There were some trying times, but there were enough rewarding times to balance it out. Believe this.
Looking back (fondly)
I tend to look back more than I used to. When I was in my twenties and thirties I never looked back. But now I do sometimes. I see younger people having a good time and I remember my good times, my childhood, and my youthful experiences (like running around Venice, Italy, in the wee hours as the twenty-three-year-old American Ambassador of Inebriation), all of it with a certain fondness. I have more of an appreciation for my youth than I did when the world was my oyster and I was actually there. Now I know.
Now knowing, knowing now
When I was younger old people were “stupid” when they wasted their time trying to get some deeper thought into my head. Now the opposite is true. I have a much broader view of things and I’m more receptive to it all. I also realize I still have lots to learn. I do try to communicate just some of what I know to those younger sometimes, but they don’t really get it. I now know it’s because they can’t just as I couldn’t. Kids live forever. Twenty-somethings a million years. In one’s thirties it becomes apparent that life is actually finite. In the forties we begin to see how swiftly ride to the end really is. Inevitable acceleration is expected. A thrilling ride — weee!
Youth is wasted on the young
The heading above is a long-told expression spoken by older people. I think it’s crap. I don’t believe youth is wasted on the young. Not one bit. Youth is youth, and it’s spent and often enjoyed, but not wasted. If older people really had their youth again, then it would likely be wasted: They might be too conservative, too cautious, or too damn serious. They’d be all too aware of their own existence and how short it really is; and that would take a lot of the fun out of it. The best part of youth is not knowing, not realizing, not being aware. It is this ignorance that allows the bliss of youth to exist. Experience and knowledge would ruin this aspect of it. Love where you’re at.
And how ’bout you?
I’m sort of curious. I get around a million hits a month, of which in that period an average of 20,000 are new, first time visitors. Not including spam ‘bots and whatnot, that must be a couple dozen people at least. But who are you and where are you coming from? What’s your thing and how old are you? Share with me as I have shared with you. I’d like to know.
Or at least say “Happy Birthday, Old Man!”