(This is a post I wrote about two years ago. And, in light of my 32nd birthday next month and the rapidly approaching “Father of four” title, I thought it would be appropriate to revisit. Enjoy!)
I dreamed a dream called youth… and then awoke to find a gray hair.
I saw a guy on Dr. Phil yesterday… yes that’s right, Dr. Phil. Don’t judge, I’ll explain. My parents are in town and they were watching it, at least that’s what I’ll tell people. Anyway, I saw a guy on Dr. Phil who was recently found buck naked and passed out in the bushes at a Burger King somewhere in Ohio (just try and imagine something more embarrassing than that, it will make your brain hurt). As if that wasn’t bad enough, he had no identification on him and has absolutely no memories of his previous life at all. He apparently has some type of amnesia.
He was talking about the first time he saw himself in the mirror and he said “I look old. I don’t feel like I’m supposed to be this old. I don’t remember being old.” And while I do still remember who I am, and have yet to take a nap in the landscaping of a shady fast food establishment, I identified with him. Sometimes I look at myself and realize that I have in fact become a grown-up. Erin keeps telling me that I have gray hairs. I have yet to acknowledge their presence, but something tells me I will eventually have to accept them or grow a beard and join those guys on the “Just For Men” hair coloring commercials.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not disappointed with my life. It has been a journey that I would not trade for the world. But, things are always moving so fast that it is rare that you get a moment to think about the big picture of your life. I am 29, just one year from the ever so crucial turning point of 30. I realize that 30 isn’t really old, but it does mean that your life has begun to settle into a direction and also that other possible directions have now been left behind. For instance, I should probably put my childhood dreams of the NBA behind me. And I probably won’t be an astronaut (turns out that you need to know a lot of math and science to do that). Seriously, it’s not that I was holding out hope for any of these career paths. But, I guess the bigger point is that you spend so much of your life preparing for who you are going to be when you grow up and when you get there you still feel like your preparing for something else. I guess I just figured that there would be a clear ending to the preparation phase and a beginning to the arrival phase. But it turns out you just keep living one day after another, one step at a time, until one morning you wake up and discover a gray hair. All of the sudden, kids begin calling you sir and all of your conversations seem to revolve around the economy and back pain. And you don’t even know when it happened. You just kind of merged into adulthood. I mean, seriously, I have a family. A wife, a son and a daughter on the way. An actual real family. Am I old enough to have a family like that? Sometimes I still feel like I’ll wake up and it will have all been a dream and other times it feels like all of the stuff before this was a dream.