When I Was Your Age…

When I was younger, I can remember making fun of my parents when they’d tell stories about how things were when they were kids. Now, I’m afraid my kids might be doing the same thing to me. I can remember the one year when there was no school bus service due to budget cuts. I had to ride my bike or walk to school every day of my fifth grade year. Now my kids complain if they have to wait for a few minutes at the bus stop. But when I go to tell them how hard I had it (it wasn’t barefoot, uphill both ways in the snow like MY parents had, but still), I have to stop myself. I find myself sounding too much like my parents did and, frankly, it creeps me out!

Pictured: My parents school commute (why hadn't they invented shoes yet???).

Is that just a natural part of life? It reminds me of the words of Job in the Bible (taken totally out of context): “What I feared has come upon me; what I dreaded has happened to me.” (Job 3:25 – NIV). I know that’s not what Job was talking about (imagine Job’s “When I was your age” speeches to HIS kids), but that’s how I feel.

Every day when I look in the mirror, I see fresh signs that I’m not in my twenties anymore. I have to put my glasses on first to see it, but there are speckles of gray in my once dark brown hair. I have these few stubborn hairs in the direct center of my goatee (subtlety isn’t my facial hair’s strong suit) that are gleaming white and seem to grow faster than any others. I have these creeping lines in my once smooth skin.

Do I fear getting older? No. But it doesn’t mean I have to enjoy it. I’m not going to be one of those guys who tries to fight it though. I’m not going to dye my hair or Just for Men my facial hair. I’m going to accept the natural changes as they come. Sure, I’m working on losing some weight, but I’m not going to Botox or lift any part of my body.

Do I feel old? No, I’m only 33 after all. I don’t really know what happened to all those years. I can hardly believe that this year marks 16 years since I graduated from high school. Next year, I’ll be twice the age I was at graduation!

Now, I can hear you thinking, “Come on Mike, this is a blog about being a Daddy to five kids. We don’t read this to hear you talk about how old you’re getting.” But, that’s just the thing. As I reflect back on the past twelve years since my wife and I got married, I’m amazed at how quickly it has gone. It is true what they say: Time Flies!

Time flies

It has machine guns too!

So, as I look in the mirror and notice all the evidences of my advancing age, I turn around and look at the five kids I have. I know beyond a doubt that I’ve earned each and every gray hair. I can smile and know that each of those gleaming white hairs in my goatee represents one of my children. I can know that those lines were earned smiling and laughing (and sometimes frowning) at all the things my kids do. And my eyesight…well, that’s just genetics! So, your attitude about aging is really up to you. You can lament your fading youth, or embrace it – you have earned it!

Until next time…