It is 5:11 AM on Wednesday, April 4th, 2017. The past month or so has been a blur and I haven’t been in my routine of waking up early and thus haven’t written.
My 40th birthday quickly approaches but I’ve felt like I’ve already hit it for a few months now for a couple of reasons.
My body is sore from karate all the time and I only feel loose just after practice. I don’t remember my body feeling so sore for so long when I was twenty. My knees make noises when I bend them; you can hear them when I walk down the stairs on a quiet morning.
Many of my old acquaintances have already turned 40 and I continue to be surprised at the lack of enthusiasm for getting back in touch. E-mails, phone calls, or even simple FB posts are pretty much non-existent now. Most old friendships / relationships are dead. Friends used to be central to a young persons life but these are replaced by families which is not surprising. What is surprising is that the vast majority are letting the old friendships die. Half don’t even respond to direct Facebook messages. They are getting old and have forgotten relationships of the past.
I was listening to Amazon’s playlist “2017 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame,” yesterday and Tu Pac’s “How Do You Want It” came on. I asked my young female co-worker if she knew this song or if they still played it in college and she didn’t know it, calling the song very old! She said, “Well, when did it come out? I wasn’t born until 1993.” That was quite a shock for me. This song was one of the most popular when I was in high school and it is hard to believe that young adults don’t even know it today. It was a pointed reminder that becoming forty years old no longer qualifies as being young.
However, I then pointed out that we had incredible music illustrated by the fact that they find their way back into current music. By mentioning Tu Pac we also mentioned Biggie and his song “Mo Money” was redone in the movie Trolls. In fact, a lot of great older songs were in there such as Lionel Richie’s ‘Hello,’ and Cindi Lauper’s ‘True Colors.’ I guess by pointing this out was my way of rebelling against getting older. I was saying that these songs were timeless and since they came out when I was young, my age was also timeless. There was no getting older for either these songs or myself! The songs were renewed and became young again and thus so was I!
But even so, I recognize that my mindset is changing, I am getting older. Kids especially cause rapid aging of the mind because you must continually instruct them, guide them, or in other words, act like a parent. Acting like a parent means you’re no longer a carefree young person. That carefree young person has been replaced with anxiety, worrying, a disciplinarian, responsibility, and the list goes on and on.
I for one am not such an ‘old person’ as many of my peers. I still know how to have fun and can connect with my kids in a way many adults cannot. I enjoy looking for bugs, inspecting them, playing with my kids, laughing and so on. Fathers in the past were much more formal with many of them not even knowing how to play. Now that I think about it I see many fathers today that I really cannot see getting down on all fours to play. The image society tells men to imitate is to be macho, not smile, not have much fun unless it is many football fun or some type of ball sports. My image of fathers in the past are of a stern figure who rarely even engaged his kids in conversation. But now that I think about it many fathers have a tough time really letting loose and playing today so perhaps things are not all that different?
Anyway, yes, I still know how to have fun but the excitement and endorphins do not flow as freely to me as they once did. I remember how exciting a weekend in high school would be, out with my friends, going to a football game, chasing some girls, and generally just being young carefree kids. That level of excitement doesn’t exist at 40. Hell, I just went to Jamaica on a very nice vacation and I cannot recall being very excited about it at all! Yes I had fun, yes I enjoyed myself but the level of excitement came nowhere close to that of a free weekend in high school.
I think another difference between me at 40 and my contemporaries is that I can still vividly recall the past. Not only events or what took place but how I felt, how I thought, and if I concentrate very hard can actually make my mind travel back to that time and be there once again. At 40 I think most of my peers have completely forgotten everything except the main events. This has become quite apparent when I reach out to some of my old high school classmates as though I’m picking up right where we left off. The response has been extremely poor and depressing. The interaction then becomes awkward simply due to the fact that I remember and they do not. I even set up a class FB page which I thought would invite a lot of catching up, a lot of photo sharing and so on. The response rate has been absolutely dismal with only a small blip of activity around the 20 year reunion which over half of my old classmates bothering to even write a one line sentence.
And so, this is 40 years old.
But my life is incredible and I have no complaints. I’ve done exactly what I wanted, seen and learned much and am where I want to be. All my major life decisions have been good ones and the accumulation of these decisions has brought about a very good life.
And so, what is life at the moment, what is it that I’m excited about? I’m excited about karate, not only for what it does to my body and own confidence but especially for my son. At 40 years old I see that most kids who didn’t have confidence in high school still do not have much now. High school is such a major factor in shaping a young persons character that it is not easily modified or changed later on. My peers at 40 really do not seem that much different to me in terms of their overall character than they did in high school. There was no major transformation for most of them.
Therefore, I want to instill confidence and pride in my sons early on. This confidence will lead to success, it will lead to better decisions, it will allow them to have girlfriends and good grades, it will give them identity and discipline and it will set a very positive course for their entire life. So yes, I am excited about karate.
I’m also happy for a couple of changes I’m making to the house. I’ve cleaned up my shed and made it a half greenhouse and half office. I had some leftover wood flooring that I put down for the office half, got a really nice free desk and chair and have it looking really great!
The next project is the home gym. I really don’t want to pay 24 Hour Fitness $400 for two years, plus $400 for my wife and then $800 for two boys later on. Why not make my own gym in the garage? We will all work out more and save gobs of money over time. Working out will also lead to more confidence, improve karate ability and be a very positive thing for life overall. So, this is in the works and should be completed within the month.
The time is now 6:00am and I only have thirty minutes left before the day begins. I’ll be writing more about my thoughts at 40 as my birthday comes closer.