Forty Freakin’ Five

Posted May 15th, 2007 by Mike Cherim

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.

Made-to-last marriage

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!:lol:

32 Responses to: “Forty Freakin’ Five”

  1. Karl responds:
    Posted: May 15th, 2007 at 3:36 am

    Happy Birthday Mike!

  2. John Faulds responds:
    Posted: May 15th, 2007 at 3:57 am

    Happy birthday Mike. Me, I’m 37 and only just started out on the whole parenthood thing 2 and a half weeks ago!

  3. Mike J responds:
    Posted: May 15th, 2007 at 4:10 am

    Happy birthday Mike! I’m 20, and I really like the idea of “Ambassador of Inebriation” :D

  4. Rich Pedley responds:
    Posted: May 15th, 2007 at 4:37 am

    Happy Birthday Mike.

    You are only a few years older than me, though it sounds like you have more grey hairs….

  5. Dale Cruse responds:
    Posted: May 15th, 2007 at 7:09 am

    Happy birthday!

  6. Willie Ray responds:
    Posted: May 15th, 2007 at 7:17 am

    Happy Birthday Mike,
    I’m 51, and I’m learning how to design website’s I find it’s a blast. As far as slowing down I don’t think that will happen I’m still play classic rock in the club’s in Oklahoma. So rock on and enjoy your day.

  7. Harmen Janssen responds:
    Posted: May 15th, 2007 at 8:55 am

    Happy birthday, old man! :D
    I myself am only 22 years old, so I still have some youth to waste ;)
    Enjoy your day!

  8. Alex responds:
    Posted: May 15th, 2007 at 9:50 am

    Happy Birthday Mike!

    I’m 31 and enjoying every damn year that comes.

    Oh, and once life settles down a bit I’ll get back to you about that project we talked about a couple of weeks back. :)

  9. Joe Dolson responds:
    Posted: May 15th, 2007 at 10:21 am

    29 and going strong, here! ;)

    Happy Birthday!

  10. Robert Wellock responds:
    Posted: May 15th, 2007 at 1:01 pm

    Merry Christmas, Young man! My age well, as old as my tongue. ;-)

  11. David Zemens responds:
    Posted: May 15th, 2007 at 1:41 pm

    I got you beat by 16 years, Mike. I never thought I would make it this far, so who knows how far you or anyone will make it. I, too, find myself looking back far more than looking ahead these days. I think that goes with the territory.

    In fact, I retired six months ago from a career in law enforcement. I never thought I would see that day come, either, but it’s been here and gone. In fact, I never even thought about designing a website until I was older than you, and now with my retirement I can spend all day twiddling around with website design — making a little money, doing a few projects, but always learning more about proper design, accessibility, etc.

    Congratulations on your birthday and may there be many, many more.

  12. David Hucklesby responds:
    Posted: May 15th, 2007 at 5:41 pm

    Happy birthday, Mike -
    FWIW - I pronounced “forty” as “forte” (no accented chars on my KB, sorry.) That made me feel better. Then, at 60, I began calling myself a sexagenarian. That did get me into trouble, I’m glad to say.

    Nowadays I am counting my age in French. At “soixante onze” I still qualify as a sexagenarian, n’est-ce pas?

    BTW - tomorrow will be noted celebrity and historian Studs Terkel’s 95th birthday. We both have a ways to go!

  13. David Zemens responds:
    Posted: May 15th, 2007 at 6:31 pm

    OK, Mike, I sure am a dope. That’s why I was a police officer — not very good at math. I got you beat by SIX years…you were right. I am fifty one! Practically a youngster!

  14. Terry Corum responds:
    Posted: May 15th, 2007 at 9:18 pm

    hey Mike, happy birthday!
    I am 56 and female. Sometimes I feel really really old, especially in the morning…
    I had very red hair when I was younger and I get a kick out of people who tell me how beautiful my “strawberry blonde” hair is, because its all the white hairs that is making my red hair look almost blonde!

    I really like this site’s looks.

  15. Ingrid Kast Fuller responds:
    Posted: May 16th, 2007 at 12:53 am

    ~Happy Birthday Mike~
    I can really relate to your story, Mike. We have similar lives. I’m 47, have two kids and been married 19 years. Though it’s not my first marriage, I don’t regret marrying at 19 and having a son at 21. Might have been nice to have a few years to work on college and a career first. But then I’ve always had the entrepreneurial spirit, so I think my chosen path has worked out for me. I’m also very proud of my son and step-daughter who are both doing well in their careers.

    My ex-husband and I are lifelong friends. This might not have been the case if we had not had a child together. So I’m grateful that our paths crossed in 1978. As for Tim, my husband, he’s my lifelong lover and confidant, who I still can’t believe is still by my side. At the beginning, we had some rocky roads, so I really thought we wouldn’t make 5 years. But like you said, it’s just short of a miracle and since both of us had been through the disappointment of a first marriage, we wanted to make it work. I think marriage has alot to do with attitude, perseverance and geniune love for the other person.

    Youth wasted… shoot I can remember burning candles at both ends, two schools and two jobs, parties and little sleep. Hmmmm…. I’m still doing that…. I guess I haven’t burned my candle out yet.

    As Spock from the Planet Vulcan would say…. Live long and prosper Mike!

  16. Ty responds:
    Posted: May 16th, 2007 at 8:10 am

    Congratulations, albeit a day late on your b-day! I’m a year-30-months-and-a-week behind you then ;)
    Dude, I only been married a few years now, how many was it dear, “oh yeah three or four… seems like 3″, and no kids, but I stepped into a pre-made family with four big-I mean big boys. Maybe they have learned a little patience from me, or maybe pure procrastination, lol.

  17. Chuck Schulte responds:
    Posted: May 16th, 2007 at 10:20 am

    You have had a good life (it would seem) and I admire you and your wife for sticky it out through the good and bad times - not enough people will do that these days - too much ME and I want it NOW.

    I have had a much different life - but am not complaining - it is what it is and I will live with it and remember the good times much more than the bad times.

    At 45 you are still young - you are never too old - just not as active and as most of us would have to admit - ‘If I had known I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself!”

    Take care and take care of those who are your true friends.


  18. Mort Cherim responds:
    Posted: May 16th, 2007 at 12:08 pm

    Happy Birthday Son!

    At 70 and married (2nd time) for 25 years (this July) I just wanted to say I enjoyed reading your ’stuff’ and appreciated your perspective on being 45. I agree with lots but not all of your comments but definitely agree that disagreeing is OK. Just want to finish up by saying that I love you…always have and always will. Can’t say that I always have liked you but that hasn’t diminished my heartfelt love for my son. P.S. I’m damned proud of your accomplishments and successes.

  19. Lisa G. responds:
    Posted: May 16th, 2007 at 3:08 pm

    Happy Belated Birthday, Mike! A friend directed me to your blog and I like what you have to say about life at 45. I’m 48 and somewhere between 45 and 48, I grew up and realized life isn’t nearly over.

    You have so much ahead of you! Go to the store and get that hair color for men, kiss your wife passionately, and don’t celebrate too much about the kids moving out, they often come back with little ones of their own. Remember, you have finally gained the maturity and wisdom that leave youth in its own stupid dust. So, learn how to take care of your health and remember there’s always joint replacement. This is the time of your life when what you do is more than fun, it gives your life meaning. God Bless You and Your Family!

  20. Anthony Brewitt responds:
    Posted: May 17th, 2007 at 5:10 am

    Happy Birthday Mike (better late than never) - A great article, and I love to be able to attach a character to a blogger. I’m 26 and living in the UK, I have a long term relationship (8 years) and she is the most important thing in my life. This is the first year I have started noticing patches of grey hairs! My friends don’t seem to have any. Keep up the good work old boy!

  21. Elliott Cross responds:
    Posted: May 18th, 2007 at 9:05 am

    Happy Birthday Mike!

    Sorry this wish is late, as life gets ahead of us sometimes. I hope it is the first of many more! Thanks for all of the help you have offered to me, and the inspiration you give to myself and countless others out there!

    Keep up the good work!

  22. Gill responds:
    Posted: May 18th, 2007 at 9:57 am

    WHoa! I’ve only just got the notification of this as well. I missed it!!

    Happy birthday Mr Green Beast. The web is a better place having you around and I’m not saying that just because of the free templates and forms. (although they help :-)

    Age brings its benefits although agility isn’t one of them. The day you decide to run for it and suddenly find your ankles disagree is the day you notice you’re no longer 18. The one that really got me though was looking in a shop window at something I wouldn’t be seen dead wearing and thinking…. “hmmm that looks comfy!”

    Age is all in the mind, if you ignore the ankles, back, knees etc. Hope you had a really great day and just be careful getting out of bed from now on. :-)

    Birthday kisses.


  23. Josh Stauffer responds:
    Posted: May 20th, 2007 at 12:10 am

    Happy Belated Birthday Mike! I am 24 years old and have been happily married for almost 8 months now. Live in Branson, Missouri and love the internet. I am sure glad I stumbled across your site. Thanks for your thoughts.

  24. Sarah responds:
    Posted: May 20th, 2007 at 6:35 pm

    This is a little late, but Happy Birthday Dad! You’ve been 45 for almost a week… how long do you think it will take for you to forget how old you are like usual and have to ask your wife to refresh your memory?

    Much of what I am going to write here you have already heard (you were standing over my shoulder as I read the post).
    I am going to admit something and after I say it, I will never say it again. I hope my marriage is like your’s and mom’s. As your daughter it is my job to mock my silly parents (and I fulfill that task to my best ability), but in all honesty you two are adorable in a really gross kind of way. You were right when you said that today it seems like a true feat to be married for 21 years. I am saddened by that truth and very happy for the two of you.

    It is obvious that you are my father. When I read “Youth is wasted on the young,” exclaimed what crap that is, then continued reading only to find that you agree, well, that warmed my heart. You even used “crap.” That section also inspired me to write about my own opinions of ignorance.

    “And how ’bout you?” was my personal favorite. When you express yourself on the internet you really never know who is reading it. The entire world is privilege to the information you post. You never know what kind of background or culture your readers are from, luckily comments teach blog owners about how our affects others. My personal beliefs, values and thoughts are on the internet — readers, now that you know about me, what about you? Nice job Pops, and may your next 45 years kick bum.

    P.S. You just can’t wait to get rid of us. “Our two kids are almost out of the picture…”

  25. Nick Fitzsimons responds:
    Posted: June 5th, 2007 at 11:43 am

    Hi Mike, I’m very late to the party but I was 45 about three weeks before you, so I just thought I’d say “Welcome to the club, young man!”

    Some of the things you said reminded me of a quotation from Kierkegaard which has been increasingly on my mind over the last few years: “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”

    See you at 90; I wonder how 45 will look from there :-)

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