When Did We Get Old?

I went to my best friend’s birthday party this past weekend. It was a milestone birthday for Norm, and as much as I would like to say that age doesn’t matter, I know that turning 40 left him a little out of sorts. To be honest I think it bothered me a little bit too. I swear we went to bed last week and we were in our mid-twenties! How the heck did he turn forty, and why does it have to happen to me in a year and a half? There must be some mistake! How can we be old, let alone parents with jobs and cars and mortgages?

Norm is a very young forty. He exercises daily and drinks fruit and spinach smoothies. I think he is probably in better shape now than he was at twenty five. Most of that may be due to needing to be in better shape than he was back then to just keep up with life. Just writing that makes me feel older. We used to be able to eat poorly, drink all the time, and still handle working two jobs and go to school. Now we need to practice proper nutrition and train like athletes to handle one job and a family. Norm and I have young sons that run from the moment they get up to the moment they finally fall asleep.

We spent a lot of time at the party reminiscing about our early twenties. We joked about being able to drink all weekend and be ready to go to work on Monday. We would routinely close bars Friday and Saturday and still have energy to run around all day Sunday. These days I need a weekend to recover from a few beers on Friday night. The rest of the time people were talking about pensions, 401K accounts, medical benefits, and childcare. When did we trade having an epic night for trying to remember them? When did all the other boring stuff become the interesting topics for the night?

The real measure of how old we have all gotten came at 10:00 pm. We were tired. Norm was yawning and trying to hide it. I was drained and had no way to hide it. At a time when most twenty-somethings were just thinking about going out for the night we were all secretly hoping to get to go to bed. Katie’s big concern was how our son was doing with us actually out so late at night and how long it was going to take to get him back to sleep if he woke up when we came home. Not because she wanted to watch something on TV or have a nightcap, but because she desperately wanted to sleep as soon as possible. Yep, we have turned into a wild a crazy crew.

I still don’t know when all of this happened. I don’t remember consciously becoming an adult. I can’t remember thinking that all the stress of being a responsible member of society would be a great thing to add to my carefree and easy life, but it happened. I wouldn’t trade my wife, child, or career for anything. I like my pets, house, and car. I don’t even mind working to pay for it all. I just don’t remember how it all happened. I feel like a lobster in a cooking pot. If you try to put a lobster in a pot full of hot water they will fight and try to get out. If you put one in a pot of cool water and let the temperature come up they won’t realize what is happening until too late. It’s too late for Norm and me. Somehow the pot of water that is middle age snuck up on us.

To be honest, I don’t think Norm really minded turning forty. I know that I don’t really mind either, most of the time. He still feels like he can take on the world and I know he can. I still feel like I can make major changes to my life and health, that’s why I created the blog and why I am challenging myself with the bike rides and mud run. Forty is just a number, but it is a round number that really does signify halfway. The normal life expectancy is still around 80. We are halfway to the end, but we still have half to go. I think we can do a lot with that half as long as we don’t fixate too much on the amount of time we have left and concentrate on what we want to do with it.

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3 Responses to When Did We Get Old?

  1. I feel your pain, Joe. I’m right behind you, but my wife keeps saying things like “We are so old” and “I feel old.” That doesn’t help me.

    I have no grand thoughts to add on the matter, except to say…if you ignore the number, then age doesn’t matter. I feel like a kid at heart most of the time, more inclined to do something fun than something serious and adult-like. That keeps me feeling young, anyway. That and cycling.

    Oh, and I liked your lobster pot analogy. That is right on the mark.

    • Joe Johnson says:

      Thanks! I feel like being on the bike keeps me young too. There is something about it that just brings me right back to being a 12 year old riding my ten speed.

  2. yceblu says:

    Joe: I enjoyed your article it made me chuckle and remember how your Dad reacted to turning forty.

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