Man at Midlife
My wife has been talking recently about planning my 50th birthday party. For chrissake, I’m still just 48! Let’s not rush it. I really don’t want to think about it. It shocks me. But it’s going to happen (I certainly hope). When I think about my younger self, 50 seems really old, like that’s not just my dad, it’s nearly my grandpa! I’ve noticed myself becoming a lot more nostalgic in the last few years. So many things remind me of childhood or college or my bachelor days. Part of the nostalgia is the feeling that back then, way back then, I was free, unencumbered, with limitless possibilities and limited responsibilities. Now, of course, it’s totally different.
I don’t feel 48. I’m in good shape physically. I play recreational soccer with people half my age, and can at least hold my own. I’m pretty sure I’m the oldest player in the league, which numbers about 200 players. Sometimes getting beat by a young gun makes me contemplate retirement from the game, but it’s the one thing that reminds me most of being a kid and it’s too much fun, so I keep re-upping for another season. I played varsity tennis in college and still compete in high-level leagues, and can give younger players a good battle. I run to stay in shape. It used to be easier. I’m feeling the effects of age on my stamina.
My daughter is preparing for the SAT and is a year-and-a-half from college. She’s got her drivers learner’s permit. I remember her keeping me up all night with colicky crying. I can see her becoming a young woman. I’m trying to get used to the idea of letting her go…gradually.
I’m pretty sure at least half my life is over, unless I can become one of those Centenarians featured on the Today Show. I’m terrified of the older years, so I want to make sure I leave everything on the table now. Day to day, that seems hard to do, but that is real life. By coincidence, I attended a funeral today of a co-worker who died suddenly one day last week — didn’t even make it home from work. She made it to the parking garage, had trouble breathing, an ambulance was summoned, and the next day, her desk was empty. Made me think you can never be sure you’ll make it home again.
I plan to write about my life and thoughts as I go through this midlife period, now as an experienced parent whose kids still need him, but not as much, as a mid-career man of modest success who is still searching for that passion, as a second-time husband still trying to get marriage right, as a new student who graduated college more than half a life ago. If you find something of yourself in these musings, I’d be interested to read your comments.