I gotta tell you…I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately and frankly…turning 40 kinda sucked. And then I turned 41. Followed by 42. Then there was a flow to it and all of a sudden I was 43. Then 44 rolled around and finally…BAM! Here I am. I see where this is heading and I guess what’s gonna happen is gonna happen. I can’t stop it. There is no magic potion. I can’t take a pill or buy a time machine. It is what it is and there’s no way to stop it. Today I am 45 years old. I’ve been lamenting the loss of my 30’s for over 5 years now and so…as of today….I’m done with it.
Looking back at the first 4 years of this 10 years of my life, I can’t say they’ve been as good as my 20’s or 30’s. Oh sure…I have a great family and friends. Got a nice house. A couple cars. A couple dogs. A couple cats. Even have a picket fence in the back yard that is in dire need of repair. It’s the American dream…along with the taxes and insurance and more insurance and more taxes. This “middle age” thing definitely has had its moments and not all of them have been all that bad. But there have been some things to get used too. Some of it has been mental. A lot of it has been physical. And more than half of it is just the plain fact that I don’t WANT to get older. In my head…I have been fighting a battle that I am just not going to win. No one does. It’s a plain fact of life…EVENTUALLY it just happens. The ride doesn’t stop. You can’t jump off. You’re stuck on it and it’s climbing the hill and so you ride and hope you don’t fall out.
The truth of the matter is this…I’m 45 years in and my life ain’t so bad. I have wonderful friends and my parents and my brothers and sisters are all doing good. My kids are awesome and my wife is the best friend a guy could ask for. I know I’m not easy to deal with sometimes but she does it with grace and patience. I’m working out and getting healthier. Got a pretty good gig for a job. All in all…I’ve got a pretty good life going on over here. It’s no secret…I’m STILL a work in progress. So I’m not gonna lament growing older anymore. There’s no point to it.
A wise man with really big lips and a penchant for wearing scarves once wrote the following song. It has been with me almost my entire life (I was born in 1968, it was released in 1973). I remember hearing it play at the Morgan County fair when I was a kid, riding the carousel and thinking what a loud voice the singer had. I remember hearing this song in my teenage years and thinking I liked the band’s OTHER rock songs better. I remember hearing it in my 20’s at Riverbend in Cincinnati, seeing Aerosmith for the first of the 4 times I would eventually end up seeing them live in concert. I cranked the song up in my car in my 30’s as I drove with the windows down from Tempe to Tucson on late nights to work Arizona basketball games. And now, here in my 40’s, I hear the song and, instead of cranking it to 11, I listen to these lyrics and I understand what Steven Tyler was writing about…
Every time that I look in the mirror
All these lines on my face gettin’ clearer, the past is gone
It went by like dusk to dawn, Isn’t that the way?
Everybody’s got their dues in life to pay
Well I know nobody knows
Where it comes and where it goes
I know it’s everybody’s sin
You got to lose to know how to win
Half my life’s in book’s written pages
Live and learn from fools and from sages
You know it’s true
All the things you do, come back to you
Sing with me, sing for the year
Sing for the laughter and sing for the tear
Sing with me, It’s just for today
Maybe tomorrow the good Lord’ll take you away
Listen, dream on, dream on, dream on
Dream until the dream comes true
Yea, dream on, dream on, dream on
Dream until your body getting blue
It is true that I have a few more lines on my face, I’ve paid some dues and I’ve had a few mistakes come back to bite me in the butt. With all of that there is knowledge and hope and a sense of accomplishment. I watch my kids grow and I can see a future for them. I see the way my wife smiles and I know she has my back. I have seen hurt and I’ve known heartbreak and I’ve had some bad times and somehow I’ve managed to survive.
Life is pretty much a book that only has one ending. I don’t need to flip to the back of it to tell you what happens. It’s all the pages in the middle that make it worth reading. So now…this is me writing my own book. So far…it’s been a pretty good story. And we’re only 45 pages in….