Monday, October 31, 2011

I know I am old, biut how do I act

I need a little help.
No, I am not talking about help with my mental capacity, although some could argue I need more than just a little help in that area, and they are probably right.
The help I need is when it comes to getting old.
The actual getting old part I pretty much got figured out: just keep waking up each morning and you will get older, I guarantee it.
The help I need is how am I supposed to behave for a gentleman of my age?
I am in the latter half of the F-years, a.k.a. the 40s. They say life begins at 40 and I say ‘they’ are all people who are at least 40.
There’s no way a 25 year old would say that. I know I wouldn’t have when I was a 20 something.
‘They’ also say 50 is the new 40.
A guy I know has them all beat. He is 48, but still acts 18. Mind you, he is an exception to the rule. He is also kind of a bozo, but that is for a different column.
I started thinking about this when I turned 30 and wondered just how was a 30 year old supposed to behave?
Then it was how does a 40 year old behave?
Soon I will wonder how I am supposed to act when I roll to the big half-a-century mark.
There is potential for me to be a grandpa by then. How is a grandpa supposed to act? Hell, I remember my grandpa as being old? Does that mean I am old? If so, how am I supposed to act?
I knew how a teenager was supposed to act – like an idiot with no concern for the consequences of his actions.
“Look, we’re teenagers, if we don’t do stupid things now, when will we?”
I actually said that on many occasions and most of my friends were sold on the idea and jumped right into whatever plan we were concocting at the moment.
That is the beauty of youth - you are too young to know better, but old enough to do whatever it is you probably shouldn’t be doing.
“C’mon, speed limits are for wimps. What are you a nun or something?”
“Yeah, my knee hurts a little bit, but it will be fine tomorrow. Let’s keep playing.”
“Sure I’ll have another beer. The last 15 barely affected me.”
Youth is wasted on the young. But like a fine wine, people mature with age.
In my 20s I knew it was time to knuckle down and get on with some sort of respectable life. Career, marriage, kids, a mortgage – all happened when I was in my 20s.
No more taking off on a road trip with 30 minutes notice. No more staying up until seven in the morning. Well, not having fun anyway. In my late 20s, an ‘all nighter’ meant sitting up with a sick kid.
Since the ‘settling down’ process began I drink socially and only a few times a year, I no longer smoke – starting in the first place is my only real regret from the stupidity of youth – and I do the speed limit because the speeding fine is no longer worth the extra few minutes I would save by blasting down the road at warp factor five.
Basically, I have turned into the old guy we all used to laugh at in our youth.
So is that it? Have I arrived at some sort of maturity stasis where this is as mature as I will ever be?
I guess we can arrive at a certain point of maturity and never really evolve beyond that – like my 48-year-old friend did.
He reached 18 and decided that was it for him. Gee, I wonder why he is now divorced, massively in debt and still thinks excessive drinking is still something to brag about.
I am glad to have evolved beyond the immature antics of a teen, but still do not feel old enough to act like an old guy.
Oh well, with age comes wisdom and I am sure I will figure it out – eventually.

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