In 13 days I will supposedly stand at the peak of my chronological life. In 14 days I will turn 40 and officially be over the hill. I think I may have started some of my over the hill activities early. In the past 20 – 25 months I have pulled a hamstring playing football (for the first time in my life), been prescribed cholesterol meds, began taking fish oil, and started going regularly to a chiropractor. I already have this weird thing about wanting to eat dinner early – what’s that about? Yet, I have heard from some that life is not so bad over the hill. I have heard from others that it is horrendous. Two weeks away from death valley, I can’t quite see the other side, but I can hear the echoes in the distance.
That said, below is sort of my mix tape of fears, hopes, aspirations, and questions about the down hill side of life.
- I wonder about bi-focals. I have heard that after 40 your vision changes making bi-focals necessary. When you wear your bi-focals do you look down to see up close and look up to see far away or is it visa-versa? Whose job is it to let me know which way to look? Either way, it sounds dangerous. Will bi-focals make me look like an idiot when I try to catch a ball? Will I begin to dodge objects that are actually 1/4 mile away from me? If I put 3-D glasses over my bi-focals – what happens then?
- I wonder about my post-40 sox. For years I’ve noticed that men in mid-life seem to no longer progress with their sox. I guess black mid-calf sox were cool in ’45 because I have seen older men wearing them for years. And it doesn’t matter what shoes they have on that day. I’ve seen black sox with flip-flops, white Nikes, and with brown boat shoes. For my generation the evolution of the sock has been 80’s knee high/tri-stripe, 90’s knee high/no stripe/but push ‘em down (very cool), 2000’s ankle sock. I struggle with the 2000‘s ankle sock because my lower calf and ankle are almost non-existent. From the knee down my shins and feet look like a pencil stuck in a baked potato. I’m sort of glad we are getting over ankle sox, but I see trouble. Now the ’10’s are bringing us back to what I would consider old man, black, mid-calf sox with everything. I can’t do this! For 39.75 years I have been laughing at old men in shorts and black sox. But apparently going back to the 90‘s push down method, with which I am very comfortable – THIS MAKES ME LOOK LIKE AN OLD MAN!!! Late this past spring I had two of my 9th grade students laugh at me in the same way I have been laughing at old men in sox for years. This is a crisis year for me. I’m going to have to make a choice and stick with it. WHAT AM I TO DO WITH MY SOX?
- Is it prostate or prostrate? One apparently I have. One apparently describes reverent posture. Either way, I hear I will need to make an appointment in which both uncomfortably collide. I am with Rick Burgess from the Rick and Bubba Show on this one. We can send a man to the moon, we can take pictures of deep space, but after 40 I’m going to have to go to the doctor and let him . . . . well, you know. We have about two weeks left to make a serious technological advancement here! Come on NASA – help an almost 40 brother out! Show my doctor how to take some serious pictures and keep his hands to himself!!!!
- What will become of my hair? Will my hair turn grey or turn loose? For almost 40 years I have had plenty of hair options. I can go long or short with relative ease. I know in some respects I have appeared to have a receding hairline for most of my life, but this is not the case. I was born a cone head and never recovered. I have a gigantic forehead. I can’t help it. But now I have this “spot” off front left. I can’t figure out if its a late blooming cow-lick or if I have a thin spot. If that’s the case why am I the guy who will NOT gently go through male pattern baldness? Why will I be the first guy in human history to go bald-front-stage-left? By 50 will I have a nice thick right coat and a bald left? Is it time for me to go Pat Riley? Do I need to start growing out my right side? If black sox are making a comeback maybe 2020 will be the decade of the comb-over.
- What will I do for my mid-life crisis? A few months ago I bought a 2001 Chevy pickup truck. As far as vehicles go, I am good with old man. But I’ve got to do something. Will I get a tattoo of a dragon on my back or maybe a stud for my belly button? Will I start collecting something weird like Pez dispensers, license plates, or back scratchers? Will I start buying odd things that help me relax? My wife has already bought me this strange metal thing that feels awesome when you rub it on your head. Will I start wearing copper bracelets? Will I suddenly take interest in working with wood? Will I buy a Harley and join a gang of grey-hairs? Will I spend way too much time with the bird dog I’m going to buy at 41? Will I start taking pictures of nature? Will I suddenly begin to enjoy watching birds? It’s hard to tell. I’m afraid of heights so jumping out of an airplane or hang gliding are out. Whatever my mid-life crisis will bring I hear that its expensive and it usually ends with counseling. If I have to go to the doctor a lot about this prostate/prostrate thing I can see why men need counseling after 40. Whatever the case, I better start saving some money.
I hope post-40 goes well. I sure have enjoyed years 0-39. For the next 14 days I’ll enjoy the end of the climb. Who knows, maybe life will be even more fulfilling on the downhill side.