Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The middle ages.

It doesn’t feel like it. I don’t really look like it, unless the wife is lying to me.  I don’t act like it and go out of my way not to.  I still weigh in at my senior year (high school) weight.  I have yet to need anything rhyming with Niagara or other newfangled pharmaceutical product designed to let someone live a better, yet side effect-riddled life.   Last week I even bought a new pair of Nike’s the teenage shoe jockey assured me were the ones to have.

Then today, like a freight train full of rhinoceroses coming out of nowhere and running you over, I turned thirty-six years old. Thirty-six? Holy shit.
Somewhere in my early-twenties while cloaked in immortality, smugness, and taught skin, I saw this milestone as the fixed point of no return. The birthday I was officially old.  Telling myself that by then; you’re half way done dude.  So get to it.

Me and my stupid ultimatums. 
I spent the past few years, maybe longer, frantically racing to beat the time limit like a contestant on reality cooking show.  Did I get there? 
But also, yes.
As I sit in my non-corner office overlooking the trailer park amid the constant dim of interstate traffic, next to coworkers two-thirds my age, while half-assing completely unfullfilling work, I realize the dream of being a proverbial real-world rock star or at least upper middle management might have set sail without me.  I suspect this is how a career-stripper might feel about their chosen path, except with more emails and less meth and daddy issues.

Like a once new car that is starting to shows its miles, shit is starting to break down. In the past two years alone I have been to doctor more times than in the past twenty combined. My ears need a hair cut while the DMZ between my hairline and forehead is rapidly advancing north. Random things ache at non-random moments and a sore throat immediately triggers fear of a tumor. A routine grocery run now includes lingering in the pharmacy aisle with genuine interest like I'm shopping for clothes.

Does this guy look 36? Okay, ignore the gray beard, diaper bag, camera, child, and mock smile. Now?
Not quite having reached get off my damn lawn status, I am  however definitely entered into slow down when driving down my street fist waving territory.

But I don't feel old.

Funny thing is I actually feel kinda' good. Like even better now than ten years ago.

And here's why:

I'm genuinely smiling this time because it's the wife's turn to change her diaper.
Somewhere along the way, I ended up getting married and have managed to keep the happily in the proper context. Add a little fate, some strong DNA (and some questionable birth control practices) and I became a dad to a kick ass kid.

And on days when the working world threatens to stab my soul yet again, I get to come home to something better.  A world of first steps, words, high-fives and a hot wife to share it all with.

And just the right kind of cake on your birthday.

Chocolate + Peanut Butter + Pie for a cake = Happy Husband
I get so warm and fuzzy I don't mind sharing, even with dirty little hands.

Pie for dinner = Happy toddler. Followed by sleepy toddler.
Then when your birthday present consists of a homemade gift certificate of shooting, drinking, meat-eating, hoteling with the wife, plus a free babysitter, you know you've made it.

So here I am, thirty-six years later. It may already be halftime, but I am well ahead.

read to be read at yeahwrite.me


  1. Bittersweet ;)
    I turned FORTY last year and I do feel more of a sense of urgency of what to do with the rest of my life and to have a game plan - which I don't have yet...
    One thing I do know - I do not want to turn back time, I am proud of what I accomplished and I am way more relaxed than I used to be when I was younger (like 36 or so)
    Happy Birthday!

    1. I hope I have your optimism when I hit forty. But that's at least ten years away...

  2. happy birthday!! some days i feel my age (which is older than you young man!) and other times I don't feel like a grown up and wonder how the hell i ended up in charge of 3 kids??

    1. "Young man" <<<< Best Present Ever


  3. Happy birthday! Am sure you had a blast!

    1. Woke up with a hangover, from too much pie. But yeah, totally worth it.

  4. Haha. I so relate to this. I'm 32 and the years just keep whipping by. I remember what I thought 32 would look like from the perspective of my nine year old self. It wasn't pretty. And yet here I am, and i don't FEEL old. *sigh* but yes, you have indeed hit the big time in all the ways that matter. so happy birthday!

  5. woops. didn't mean to comment as 'brooke'. I'm over here at stripeyhorse. :)

  6. What a great post!
    It's funny how it hits us when we get to that "old" number that we dreamed up when we were young.
    I think a lot of us can feel your pain, and also help you celebrate your accomplishments... because man, you have got one cute family!
    Happy Birthday!

    1. Apparently they have drugs to help with the pain, may have to start looking into those.

      Thanks for the compliment! The girls make us all look cute. Me, not so much.

  7. So sweet. Love it. Now you can use 40 as the next milestone to reach. You can readjust from there. Erin