I don’t know how it hapened, but I hit that milestone number. Turning 40 was mildly irritating, and then the next 5 raced past me like I was standing still, and then here I am half way to 90. I’m doing all the things you are supposed to (at least presently) to stave off old age. I’m in the gym now, eating right, smoke free, and I see my doctor on a regular basis. But I don’t feel 45. I’m not sure how to explain that. One of my girlfriend’s boys, Ryan, says I don’t have an adult bone in my body, referring to my often non-adult approach to life, and maybe that will be my saving grace.
I have been reintroduced to some of the people I grew up with in high school after a long break, and one thing which I have noticed is a lot of them have grown up. I mean that they act old. Not elderly, just that they have lost their playfulness and silliness, and seem to impart a solemn seriousness to everything they do. I suppose I am fortunate that in being my own boss I can claim a certain amount of eccentricity about how I live and relate to people, and that even though my company trains dogs for a very serious job, police work, in the end I am training dogs. They are inherently playful. Of course they can be very serious when the situation calls for it. But when they are relaxed, no matter how old, a dog never loses his playfulness. They will still throw down the old play bow and will try their best to race around, and turn a circle or two with a big dog smile. If he is old enough, that might be all he has for you, and after that level of exertion he needs to sleep for a few or ten hours, but it is in there to the end.
I guess I am blessed that after all I have soldiered through and experienced in my 45 years on this planet, that I still can act foolish and be silly in between those times when I have to put on the game face and talk about marketing strategies and cash flow. I don’t think any adult can get completely free of the realities of surviving in this world, but I am glad that at heart I feel like I havent changed hardly at all from the kid I remember always being, laughing at everything I could, and being silly. I also think that in my life now I have a few friends who are at heart as immature and goofy as I am despite the fact that they might have important adult jobs.
I have to say, it also helps to be around the two boys, Ryan (12) and AJ (14), as I get a lot of opportunity to stay young in my head even if the outer layers of my being are getting harder and harder to convince that they are still 20 something.
My girlfriend asked me if turning 45 bothered me, and I told her no. It didn’t at first. But I suppose the fact that I am reflecting on it means that it did get to me, just a little bit. Time seems to go by so fast, which I know is a signal of age. The boys often tell me they are bored with this or that, and I don’t recall the last time I was bored (Oh yes I do, it was the 3 hours I spent going between the DMV and the Social Security office last week to get my driver’s license renewed, but that is its own story). But in any event, boredom doesn’t happen often for me. Most likely because at my age I make the most of my time, and I can see the remarkable in quiet moments like having coffee on the front porch on a quiet and chilly morning, like this morning.
Last night we had dinner with friends in a fancy Brazilian steakhouse, and all four of the kids were running a bit amuk in the restaurant, making chocolate moustaches with their cake icing, and making coctails that included their water glasses as a substrate and simply adding various amounts of beef, chicken, cake and olives to give it a sophisticated flair. We were involved in our conversations, the four adults, and I noted how happy I was that the kids felt the freedom to be young and silly and carefree, and I hoped that when each of them turns 45 they will still be devoid of any adult bones in their bodies.
My friend gave me a regifted trophy at dinner, and the plate read: "Congratulations on Turning 45." Actually it said 35 and he scratched it out and put a "4" just above the "3". Somehow I feel entitled to an award. A small award, but an award nonetheless at getting this far, and being happy and content with my life and the people I love who are in it.