Wednesday, November 19, 2014

OK 50, here I come ready or not

They are dropping like flies.
At first, it was just one or two, but gradually the wave built until it was a tsunami of birthday celebrations with just about everyone I know being clobbered by the big 5-0.
My high school classmates and many people I work with and go to church with are succumbing to the half-century mark with alarming frequency.
It seems like I can not open FaceBook anymore without seeing someone being consumed by the five-decade milestone.
But the more candles on your cake the better off you are.
I can remember when I turned 20 – sort of. It was a party and a good time. It was a little more concerning when I turned 30 because for some reason, that was a big number for me.
I really appreciated my youth and 30 was definitely not a kid anymore.
Even at 29 you could say, 'Hey I'm still in my 20s,' but at the stroke midnight on the day I was born the calendar decreed I was no longer a 20-something. I was now a 30-something and that felt different for some reason.
By the time I was 31 I had two little kids to worry about and a couple years later the third installment of the Handschuh clan made an appearance so I was far too busy – and tired – to really worry about 40 that was coming at me like I was a deer in the middle of the road, blinded by the oncoming high beams of middle age.
Forty did not come with dread, but was pushed to the side as the chaos of life with three kids took precedent over being concerned with becoming an old guy,
Fast forward nine years and nine months and I am once again staring an age milestone in the face.
This time, however, the kids are older, more independent giving me more time to play the part of a deer that is about to get splatted by the oncoming freight train that is Father Time.
In three months, I will no longer even be a 40 something, but will cross that great divide of age and be a 50 something.
OK, so what does a 50 something act like? I still like motorcycles, like I did when I was 20. I am still doing martial arts, like I did when I was 30. I am the oldest person in my martial arts club, by the way and everyone knows the single most important rule the club has is 'Don't hurt the old guy.'
If my fellow - and much, much younger – students remember just one thing, I hope that is it. For the majority of the people in the club I am old enough to be their parent, and for the little kids even a grandparent and I...Whoa, hold it, I just crossed a line. I am not willing to refer to myself as a grandpa just yet.
Grandpas, and grandmas, are old. I mean my dad was 52 when he became a grandpa and I...uh oh.
Hmmm, I know my own grandpa always seemed old, but he would have been in his 50s when his grandchildren started showing up.
I am not saying there is anything wrong with being a grandparent and I admit it will be kind of cool to be able to play and have fun with little kids until I get tired and then just hand them over to their parents, but I am not ready to go there just yet.
How can I be a rebel, a renegade, a free spirit if I am a grandpa. It just does not seem right.
It is just another aspect of reaching the half century mark I am trying to wrap my brain around.
Before you can be old and wise, you have to be young and stupid. I did very well in the young and stupid department, now I just need some of that wisdom to kick in.

Copyright 2014 Darren Handschuh

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