Sunday, May 12, 2013

Big 5-0 here I come

I am not quite there yet, but I am rapidly closing in on my 50th birthday.
That is half a century on this earth, five decades, 600 months, 18,250 days, 438,000 hours – you get the idea.
I thought by now I would be a lot smarter than I am, but I am still not as smart as my teenage children.
I never went through a mid-life crisis when I turned the big 4-0, but they say 40 is the new 30, so that makes 50 the new 40 (whatever that is supposed to mean).
Or maybe I am just having a delayed reaction to watching my youth disappear in the rearview mirror of life.
I wondered what I was supposed to act like when I turned 40. I still liked the same things I did when I was 30, or even 20 for that matter. I still liked motorcycles, martial arts and hanging out with friends.
Now that 50 is looming like a big rig careening toward me in the wrong lane on the highway of life ready to splatter me on the grill like a potbellied, bald bug, I must admit to feeling some pangs of mid-life troubles. I know I hide it well, but it true.
It is a bit of a falsehood actually, because mid-life at 50 means I will live to 100 and based on my less-than-stellar younger years, I doubt that will happen.
I wouldn’t complain if I did, but I am not counting on it.
So as I look in the mirror at my ever-whitening beard and the growing crop of wrinkles showing up where they never used to be, I have been reflectively looking back on my life and asking, “What the hell happened?”
It seems like just yesterday I was a snot-nosed punk in my teens ready to take on the world with enough energy and not enough smarts to actually try it.
Now, all of my children are teenagers. That can’t be right. When I was a teen, my parents seemed so old, so if my kids are now in their teen years that must mean I am, um, moving on...
The thing is, I don’t feel old. I don’t imagine my parents did at this age either.
My oldest will be out of his teens this summer. As he reaches another milestone in his life, I find myself thinking about what I was doing at his age and hoping he never finds out what I was doing at his age.
I was not really bad at that age (or any age for that matter), but there are a few things I would prefer my kids don’t do.
To the best of my knowledge they haven’t, but then again my parents never knew what I was up to so who knows what they are actually doing. I prefer to think they are spreading good will among their fellow man and helping little, old ladies across the street.
The thing that hit me between the eyes like a thunderbolt from the heavens was when I realized that when I got married, my dad was not much older than I am now.
I never gave it much thought back then. I never looked at life through my parent’s eyes (who does at that age), but as the years pile on I see things through more mature lenses.
It is interesting to see life from this point of view. I can look back and recall how I was feeling, what I was thinking and just how downright dumb I was all those years ago.
But at the time, I thought I was pretty darn smart.
Hopefully, the years will continue to tick by, and one day I hope to be a cranky old man sitting in my favourite chair, complaining about the government, these young whippersnappers, cold drafts and looking back at when I turned 50 and marveling at what a young punk I was.

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