There have been several events, as of late, announcing the reality of my “accumulated birthdays” (as my friend Shari describes aging). There are the subtle hints, such as a strange desire (and resulting joy!) in tucking my t-shirts into my sweatpants; the complete comfort in standing at the bus stop with your kids in your bathrobe and a cup of coffee that reads, “World’s Best Dad”; and the hearing that seems to tune out anything undesirable. My kids could be complaining at the top of their lungs about their waffles being too cold and, on my honor, I would not hear them, even if they were stepping on my feet (which is often).
And then there are the more glaring examples, such as the move to “progressive” lenses, which undoubtedly heralds the transition to the second half of your life. After testing my vision, my optometrist looked at me sympathetically and said, “it happens to the best of us.”
There is the frustratingly slow metabolism, which manifests itself in unsightly love handles and a more prominent gut. Sure, there are those freakishly fit 40-something guys out there (my dad calls them “flat-bellied home-wreckers”) who seemingly have time for hours in the gym or elaborate workout routines. But for the most part, guys my age are starting to put on a little weight.
And then there are the pains. Recently I threw my back out by….sleeping. Yep, sleeping. Somehow I slept in the wrong position, which resulted in me unable to bend without a sudden yelp of pain for days. Soreness, stiffness–all the signs of age.
Crankiness seems to come a lot more easily, too. As a father of 5, I couldn’t help but relate to the cantankerousness of the father in the wonderful classic, “A Christmas Story.” My kids affirmed this similarity, too. Oh well. I snarl about leaving the lights on, protest any request costing even a nickel, and find myself often referring to “when I was your age.” All signs of getting old.
And I don’t like it one bit. Sure, there is the wisdom that comes with aging. Blah, blah, blah. It still doesn’t make up for that crestfallen feeling you experience when you are getting your hair cut and the stylist points out the thinning hairline and gives you a condescending frown.
But like every other guy who’s either in or approaching middle age, I’m going to FIGHT IT. I’m going to stay current with music, buy hip clothes (Old Navy is hip, right? Right?), and keep up with the Kardashians. I’m also going to order one of those FitBits….to go above my Medical ID bracelet.