Friday, April 3, 2009

When Are You Old Enough?

I sit here 1 hour away from my 32nd birthday.  I remember back in my angry teen years when I used to think that I would never see 25 because that seemed ridiculous - 25, how do I ever get to THAT age?  I was your typical pissed off teenager who wanted to rule the world.  Well, I blew past that number and now, I'm wondering when do I consider myself a grown up?  I sure as hell don't live like it now.  Tomorrow night I will drink my weight in alcohol and can't wait to do it with some of the best people around.  I can because I have no responsibility to anyone but myself.  But I look around and realize....most 32 year olds don't do that.  And I'm 32 now. Some wish that they could....but most are content with a slower pace to life.  A domestic life. Hell, my brother is 29 and he is married with a kid and lives on a farm.  WAAAY more responsible than me....and I'm his big brother.  

You see, 32 is an age that people start to wonder about you.  Why aren't you married?  You don't have kids?  Don't you want kids?  Don't you want to be married?  Well, yeah I want all those things but I want them later....but is now later?  Can I keep putting them off? I used to think that I would wake up one day and realize that I was ready for those BIG life things and it would just be there for the taking.  If age has taught me anything, it's that timing is the most important thing in life.  It just hasn't been the right time for me to do those things that's all.  

Yet, I'm beginning to feel like Bill Maher.  Married friends don't really know how to deal with me....I'm SINGLE.  I don't have a girlfriend....and go out and party and sometimes hook up with girls that I'm not in a relationship with (although this has REALLY slowed down of late.  I think this is one area where age does come into play.  Not too many mid-20's girls want to hook up with the 30+ year old who is semi-good looking and quasi famous in Omaha.  I mean, I have no game - zero.  But I often just stumbled into a girl who for some reason liked me).  That is the stuff that USED to happen to them back in "their single days".  They look at you and smile and laugh with an uncomfortable giggle.  You are like some crazy cousin that they only can take at Christmas. It's weird but I look at them and think - god, you mean you can't go out and do whatever you want?  You mean you have go to her parents house for WHAT tomorrow?  I couldn't do it - at least not yet. 

Imagine this conversation:  Girl:  Honey we have to go to my mother's tomorrow.  Me: Why? Girl: Because she hasn't seen me in 3 days and she wants to show me pictures of my sister's new house.  Me: I can't.  Girl: Why not?  Me: Cause I have to watch the Final Four games and then I have to read about the Red Sox opening day roster.  Girl:  Can't you just DVR it?  Me: No cause I told Ross I would go to the bar and have a drink with him during the 2nd game.  Girl: No, you can't do that.  Me:  RIIIIGHHHT.  I have to work - read during the 1st game and then with Ross for the 2nd.  Sorry honey, tell your mom hi but I've got work to do and then I'm meeting Ross.  Girl:  Tomorrow is Saturday! You don't have the show ME:  Your point?

See why I can't be married?  My work is my life and my work is what guys do to get away from their wives and lives.  For me, I have to work when they play.  I have the PERFECT excuse every time - "it's my job honey".  Sports and sports radio is what I do.  Now, throw in the fact that I move every 4 years and show me a girl who is down with that lifestyle.  See why I'm single?  Even the girls that I meet that might be cool with the moving - aren't cool with the sports thing.  It's too much.    

But when do you officially become an adult?  What age are you really old enough to be considered mature?  I don't feel like I'm mature and being around married people REALLY makes me feel lacking in that department.  I feel the same as I did when I was 26 or 28.  I think the same way, do the same things....all with a bit less hair on my head but I'm still as active.  If I were turning 28 tomorrow would people question my behavior?  Sure, I might recover a little slower from an all night drunkfest the next morning but not much.  Is it true that you are only as old as you feel?  I think so because if you didn't tell me that I was 32....I wouldn't think that I was that old.  But is 32 old?  Isn't 32 the age where TV talking heads on ESPN start to question  your longevity and your production?  Isn't 32 when they start to wonder "how many good years" you have left?  Isn't 32 the age when they start looking around for the "younger" option?

My whole life is a victim of circumstance however.  My mother had me at 18.  By the time she was 32 she had a 14 year old and a 12 year old running around. ARE YOU F'ing KIDDING ME!  I can barely take care of my cat let alone a teenager.  She had 2!  Plus, I was a pissed off kid because my parents knew each other for grand total of 6 weeks before they got pregnant with me and without my existence there is no way in hell they would have known each other for longer than 6 months.  I think that's why I am the way that I am.  I'm lucky to be here so I better enjoy the hell out of it.  I am also living out the life that my mother never did.  My mom never lived outside of Massachusetts.  She never traveled.  The dreams she chased were so she could provide for her 2 children.  I chase a dream that is entirely self-absorbed because she could never do that and you know what - she wants me to.  She lives through me in a way...although she very much wants me back in Boston.

32 isn't old, I know, but it does get you to thinking about the purpose of life.  I was always taught that family is the most important thing to value.  Blood - that's what matters.  I haven't lived around my family for 10 years.  Virginia, Alabama and Nebraska and now, maybe a new state if I find a job in the coming weeks.  It's been a crazy ride for the past decade but I wouldn't change it for the world.  Yet, I'm trying to figure out what comes next.  Unemployment will do that to you...make you think about the next step in your process.  While I'm scared about what might happen to me, a big part of me is excited about the future.  This is why being unattached is better for me - I don't have to worry about someone else's happiness right now...only mine own.  And that is how I like it at the moment.  

In the great words of the band Cracker "Ha-ppy.  Ha-ppy Birthday to me.  Happy Birthday to me and to you."  I'm 32....and you know what....that's old enough for now.

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