I am now my dad

Middle age has a way of creeping up on you. One day you’re this young guy and the next day your not. The crazy thing about it is I realize it every morning when I look into the bathroom mirror that the man I used to be is no more.

When we are young, we tend to think that everyone else is old. For instance, when I was a boy in fifth grade, I had this crush on my teacher, who I thought was so old. Not old in a grandma sense, but older, like my parents. Looking back on it now, she probably was my parents age, which would put her around twenty-five. When I was twenty five, I thought my dad was so old. He was only forty-nine then, which is of course what I will be in less than a months time.

So how does it happen that one day we wake up, look in the mirror and we see our dad? When he was forty-nine, I thought he was old, but now that I am the same age, I don’t feel like I am old. It truly is a crazy thing. I don’t feel any older now than I did when I was twenty-five, but when I see my reflection, I have to believe that I am forty-eight. Looking in that mirror every morning I see a guy I think is some one else. I see a guy with a gray hair, love handles (that used to go away at least once in a while), hair in places that I never had it and missing from places I did. Maybe the most convincing thing about aging is how our bodies don’t just respond so fast anymore. Getting out of bed each morning takes a series of steps to insure that I don’t twist something the wrong way and wind up out of work for a week with a bad back. What used to be a jump out of bed is now a deep breathe and push up on my elbow to take the stress off my lower back.

I watched my dad age but never heard him speak about it until he was in his fifties. Him and his friends would joke about things like getting out of bed every night two or three times to pee. I just thought he was being funny or something and never payed much attention to it, but now its my friends who are saying the same things. With all the talk about prostate problems, its something our generation needs to pay attention to, and could probably learn a lot about from our dads.

People, especially young girls, treat you differently at this age too. Most young girls stop noticing men at about age forty. You can go to a club now and twenty- somethings walk by you like you are invisible. Waitress’s call you “sir” which at first makes you look around like she must be talking to someone else.  This is not really good for your ego. I hear women get really pissed when people call them “ma’am”.

Although aging is a tough pill to swallow, it’s really not such a bad time for the Regular guy. A lot of good things happen to you when you reach this age. You find that there are more things in life to laugh about, even if it’s something that drives you crazy. Your relationship with a woman is easier because you both have done most of the stupid stuff already and hopefully won’t repeat the earlier mistakes. Your kids are probably grown and now you have time for yourself again to enjoy the things that you couldn’t do for years. Your friends are different too. They are around more now then they were when you were younger and they are better now too. There is a sense of oneness with each other that is unlike when you were younger. I think its a feeling that we all came so far in our lives and that it’s good to have friends to share those experiences with. When you were young it was every guy for himself, but now it’s more like a “band of brothers”.

In my mind I am still twenty-five. I say twenty-five because that is the age that I think we become men.You leave the boy behind and people notice that. You start to get the respect that you have earned from your family, friends and co-workers. You are probably in the early stages of your career and feeling good about how far you have come. Your starting to aquire things like your own place and a cool car. You are responsible for yourself now and thats okay with you. I liked being twenty-five. It’s just the right age. Not too young and definitely not old. Your whole life is out there waiting for you.

You know the only problem with being young?  It is that you don’t realize that you are and how fast time will go by. I don’t have many regrets in my life and probably wouldn’t change a too much, because if I did, I would not have met my wife. When I was young I didn’t do too much except work. Building a business will do that to you. Luckily when I turned thirty-six,  I woke up and realized I needed to balance my life better. Since then, I have made up for most of the lost years I had while building a successful business. Today I can say that the balance is pretty damn good.

We learn a lot as we age and hopefully with all that we learn, we can make aging a positive thing. People say that men age gracefully so that’s a positive thing to look forward to. And I hear ARPP isn’t such a bad thing either. They make a five minute hair dye for men that is probably one of the reasons a man can age gracefully. If this is middle age we still have a lot of time left, so get busy! Don’t let the second half of your life slip by like the first half might have.

Being my dad is not so bad after all.

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