The title quote is from Oliver Wendell Holmes. I think he was a writer or something. I don’t know. You look it up. I may not have time. I have a problem. I might be getting older, but I’m not sure. For only the second time in my life, my problem is my birthday. It’s coming up in eleven days. Normally I love birthdays because, you know, Yaaa me! I’ve never understood people who downplay birthdays. It’s a day all about you. What’s not to like? Free stuff and lots of attention.
Age is just a number ~Probably some snot-nosed twenty-something that created a marketing campaign for hair dye in the 80’s.
My birthday is my problem because it’s always been my problem. You see, with my birthday at the end of the year, my parents had a choice to make when I was four years old. They could start me in kindergarten at four years old or wait to start me when I was five. Had I been born nine days later they wouldn’t have had a choice and I would have waited until I was five. I wish I could sue my parents for that choice, but they didn’t know the effect it would have, nor did I until I was old enough to see it in the rear view mirror.
I started school at fours years old. I wasn’t a big four year old either. I was one of the shorter kids, as I should have been since I was the youngest. From the moment I set foot in a school at four years old until I graduated college I was always the youngest of my peers. Until puberty at 12/13 I was also one of the shortest. In 6th grade, when I was ten, one of the larger guys in my class, one of those glandular freaks who was a full year older and hit puberty at eight years old, thought it was hilarious that he could lift me up almost over his head. He wasn’t teasing or bullying, I allowed it. And just FYI, I am a normal, medium sized human now.
You can live to be a hundred if you give up all things that make you want to live to be a hundred ~Woody Allen
I competed in track in high school and was pretty good. I won some races now and then, and in fact, when I was fourteen I ranked in the top 5% of all fourteen year olds nationally at 10km. I didn’t realize it at the time, but even as a senior I was competing against many runners that were almost a year more physically mature than I. I didn’t think of that at the time but now I wish I could retroactively sue my parents so that I could have been more competitive.
Growing old is mandatory. Growing up is optional ~Chili Davis
Who is Chili Davis?!!? If you’re first name is Chili, I hope that you were the inventor of chili, otherwise, again, it’s probably just cause to sue your parents. The physical lag between my peers and I wasn’t a big deal, especially after puberty, but mentally the impact of being the youngest of my peers has been huge in both good and not so good ways.
Throughout my life I got a lot of positive pats on the back for my youth. It was a source of pride to be a little younger and accomplishing the same things both in school and later in the workplace. Being the youngest for such a large portion of my life, the portion of our lives when we’re figuring out identity, left me with a permanent Peter Pan complex.
Do not regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many. ~Author Unknown
It took me about 15 years to get over turning thirty. At the time I thought 30 represented “real adulthood.” I imagined that when I turned thirty I’d have to not just have a job, but a career. I thought I’d have to stop being the funny guy, the practical joke guy at the office. I thought that at thirty I’d have to be a real grown up and that all youthful things should be left behind. If those are the standards of being “adult” then thus far I’d have to say that I’ve failed miserably at it.
Now, I’m approaching a landmark birthday, one that in my mind says in no uncertain terms that I am a full blown adult. There’s no ifs, ands or sagging butts about it. I still have a full head of hair, but the color of that hair is starting to change. It’s telling me that even if I bring back the mullet of my youth, the color will out me to the world. I’ve decided to tell everyone that I’m having my tips frosted silver. That’s a thing right? It is now!
How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you were? ~Satchel Paige
That is my favorite quote about age. It gives me hope because in my mind, thanks to my parents decision all those years ago, for better or worse, I have always been young and always will be. How do you cope with getting older? Please share your wisdom in the comments. I have no wisdom on getting older because I don’t know how. Have a great Saturday! ~Phil