Today, I dropped my youngest child off for Middle School Orientation. Somehow Ben has made it to sixth grade. As a drove home, I wondered where the time had gone and if the next six years will go by just as fast. I also felt really old. I have two kids in middle schools. I must be officially old, right?
A few other things that make me realize that I have to accept the fact that I am “old.”
Born on Date: Every store has the sign that says, “To buy alcohol you must have been born by this date in 1995.” 1995! In 1995, I was legally sitting in a bar buying beer. People who can legally buy beer today were born while I was a junior in college. I still had hair when 21-year-olds were born. Those signs kill me.
Roller Coasters: I took my kids to the amusement park, Michigan’s Adventure, this week. I used to love roller coasters. I would walk off them and instantly return to the line. If no line, I would ride them back to back without question. Those days are GONE. After riding two wooden roller coasters, I felt like I had let a boxer work over my body for twenty minutes. I will admit , half way through the second coaster (which is notorious for being rough) I was kinda happy to look over and see Ben’s face a couple shades of green. Yeah! He’s not having fun!
When we got off, I played the good-dad and asked if they enjoyed the rides and wanted to go again. Secretly I was praying that they were scarred for life and would never make me get on that medieval instrument of torture again. Frankly, I was convinced that I needed at least fifteen minutes before my internal organs returned to their original locations. Fortunately, neither child wanted to go for Round 2 with the wooden devils and I was able to wait for my liver and kidneys to switch places.
Video Games: I can’t even. I want to continue to game. I grew up gaming. The games look cool but there are so many stupid buttons. I get overwhelmed just looking at the control pads. I mocked my father for never being able to master holding down “A” and “B” to make Mario sprint, but I kinda get it.
It does not get any easier when I am just trying to make my guy jump while my children are repeatedly killing me and mocking me to my face. “Hey James! Watch what I do to Dad this time!” I can send them to bed and stay up late practicing so that I can shove it in their smug little faces, but I just fall asleep or get mad and watch Impractical Jokers reruns. Old.
My body has betrayed me: I have never been a good looking man. I get that and the baldness doesn’t help, but do I really have to go gray too? I shaved my head the other day and looked at the hair on the ground. It looked like someone had skinned a skunk in my yard. Apparently my head and face look like Pepe Le Pew . And seriously, my body quit growing hair on my head long ago, but has decided to occasionally sprout giant ropes of hair out of my ear? I’m about six months away from being Walder Frey.
While I’m on it, when did standing up become a deterrent? Sometimes I will look around and think, “Is there anything else I should do before I sit down? ” I mean, I could get something to drink, but then I’d have to stand up and walk forty feet to the fridge. Screw that. Really? The act of raising myself out of a chair is enough to make me pass on things? When did that happen? Wow. Old.
My Toys: Two of my favorite toys when I was a kid were Electronic Football and my Shogun Warrior. Anyone remember these?
Do you know where I last saw them? Behind glass. In a freaking museum. I am not joking. My childhood toys are on display at the Kalamazoo Museum. Guess what is in the neighboring display case? A fossilized mastodon tusk! My childhood is feet away from a hairy, extinct elephant. That just seems unnecessarily cruel.
Clothes: I hate buying clothes. I have the same issues as most guys but now, in addition to puzzling through concepts such as as “matching,” and “tacky” and “so last year” I need to somehow incorporate the term “Age appropriate” into my shopping experience. I am not ready to throw in the towel and start dressing like Season 1 Walter White, but I also live in fear of being the 42 year-old bald dude who is trying to look twenty-five. Clothes are a constant challenge of trying to end up in the “age-appropriate” wasteland between sock-garters and a black T-Shirt with skulls and wings on it. My wife remains oblivious to my challenge and only tosses in the occasional, “Yeah, that’s fine” or “That’s good enough.” Maybe she is smart enough to realize it’s time to just throw in the towel.
However, as previous blogs have stated, even I know it is douchey for a 40+ year old man to wear a sock hat indoors or in the spring/summer. Let’s be honest, it’s douchey for anyone between the ages of 1 and 100. If you are 101, you can wear whatever you want.
DAD!!: I work in a female dominated profession and as a result have a lot of female friends. I spend a lot of my time working with the younger teachers as the veteran teachers generally have their game down pat and do not want me messing with it. Ever. At least once a year I get a comment like, “I was worried you were going to come in here and criticize everything I do or be really boring, but do you know what? You are actually kind of fun. You remind me of my dad!” Old. Just old.
My boys’ ages: My kids are closer to voting than diapers. They are closer to college than kindergarten. James and Ben are closer to graduating college than I am. That cute 25-year-old waitress is closer to James’ age than mine. Both boys are probably closer to their weddings than I am to mine. It’s realistic to think James (13) may be closer to the birth of his first son than I am to his birth. Seriously, this section makes me feel like I should be getting free coffee from McDonald’s.
Every now and then, life reminds me that I am getting older. Let’s be honest. It is pretty much daily. However, I still do not feel old. I am in better shape than I have been since I was eighteen. The last time I was at my current weight, I was a sophomore in college. Really it is just a number. Cliche, but true.
And here is my biggest take away. No matter how old I am. No matter how many times life reminds me that I have probably crossed that line into being “old” there is nothing anyone can do to make me act my age! So, who wants to go Streak the Quad?