Reflections on Being an Old Man

Tomorrow I turn 31. It’s not as eventful as turning 30 when I felt kind of depressed that I’d left behind the 20’s for good. Each birthday is often a mixture of depression and happiness. Happiness because I’m alive and healthy another year, depressing because I’m a year older. Nothing wrong with being older, except that I work in a field of youth (teaching) and our society values youthfulness more than anything. I remember when a student of mine said that caring about voting was something only an old person did, you know, like someone who’s 30. She is Korean, so maybe it was a language barrier. Nah. I do care about voting, I have and love my family, I enjoy the McLaughlin Group, and I think contemporary pop music sucks. But, I’m hardly Grandpa Simpson. I also workout almost daily, can outrun, outlift, and outlast guys and girls half my age. And, most importantly I can usually out-think them, which I’ve discovered helps achieve a whole lot in athletics and fitness. Another student told me I looked 18, which was a nice, but real lie. I think I’m somewhere in the middle: not as old as I fear, but not 18 either. And, my friends, that’s a good thing.

In fact, I think I’m doing pretty damn well. I’m at my fittest, healthiest, and in spite of everyday challenges, my happiest. The 20s were a struggle where some things worked, but a lot did not, sometimes disastrously. In the 30s, I feel in the zone, at least most of the time. So, while I take a lot of anti-aging supplements (resveratrol, anyone?), eat healthily, workout a lot, and have begun applying wrinkle reducing face creams, I’m pretty comfortable with 31. Maybe it’s because I’m fighting the 30’s with everything alternative medicine can offer; or maybe I’m in denial. Either way, I think 31 and beyond will be good years.