Tuesday, November 09, 2004

T-Minus 365.25 Days

Wednesday. November 10th. Birthday. Numero 39. Sounds old. Ok, 40 sounds old. 39 reminds me that I have one year left before that milestone.

I keep wondering how I got to be this old. I remember being a child looking forward to being an adult. Looking up to people in their twenties and thirties. Camp counselors, teachers, parents, uncles. All role models that shaped who I have grown to become. When I turned twenty I realized that it was time to grow up and start acting like an adult. Take on responsibility. Think twice before doing something and consider the ramifications. My twenties were a good time. Freedom, maturity, love. When I turned thirty, I focused on my career. I looked at where I was and said, I don't want to being doing this when I am forty. Happily I am not. I changed careers, parlayed a hobby into something meaningful and am proud of what I do and who I do it for. My thirties have been about being a provider, a husband and best of all a father to three wonderful people. If I could only be one thing it would be dad. When you think of it I always will be. I could stop being a husband (not that I have any plans to do so). I could quit my job. Sell my house. Donate all my worldly possessions and cut ties with everything I know. But I would still be a father. And a son. And a brother. I have enjoyed my thirties. I have become grounded. And selfless. I sleep lighter, have eyes in the back of my head, and hear every little sound. I have developed the sixth sense of being a parent.

As I look back and now forward, it strikes me that the coming years will be more of the same. Forty sounds so old to me. Older brother Scott is 42, but he doesn't seem it. Wife Debby is 47 and still seems as young and playful as the day we met 15 years ago. I know in my heart that I will always be young. Sometimes too young to a fault. If youth is wasted on the young lets just say that I am trying to make up for wasting mine being a scared, gangly, fish out of water. I am still shy, still crappy at small talk, still quick to make a wisecrack to hide those things, and still insecure about many things. I try not to sweat the little things, but I can still be petty, petulant and punitive. I suppose if I keep up those last three, I really don't have to worry about growing up.

I like the path I am on. I like that I am writing again. I like who I am with and the life we have made together. I miss my mother and my uncle horribly. That has been the hardest part of getting older. As I age, everyone around me does so as well. As the years go by, so will the people. I know I am pained with worry by the thought of loss. I know I can do nothing about staving it off. Perhaps it is that awareness that says stop worrying about the years and start living the days.