Halfway to 90

16 comments on Halfway to 90
2 minutes

When I was in my 20s I used to look at the older guys at work – the guys in their 40s, with their receding hairlines and expanding waistlines – and shudder, and try not to think about my eventual fate.

Yesterday was my 45th birthday. Fate has a way of catching up with you.

Except that I like being this age. You couldn’t pay me enough to go back to my 20s – you couldn’t drag me back there kicking and screaming.

It doesn’t hurt that somehow I still have all of my hair and that I weigh only about ten pounds more (and my friends tell me I was too skinny in those days). But more than that, I have the maturity and wisdom to handle challenges that baffled me 20 years ago. I am much more peaceful and content.

2009 Rose-Hulman bonfire
My former metabolism

That’s not to say 45 is all wine and roses. I have bigger problems now than I did in my 20s, mostly because I chose to have children. (Bless their little hearts.) Providing for them and making sure they’re well and loved has challenged me in ways I never could have imagined, even if you had told me.

My body has changed, too. I used to have a blast-furnace metabolism. I know I was unusually blessed, but I really could eat pretty much anything I wanted in any quantity with no consequences. No more! If I don’t limit my intake, soon I can’t button my pants. Also, the foods I choose now have a direct and often immediate effect on how good I feel. So my diet has shifted from pizza and cheeseburgers to fish and chicken, fruits and vegetables.

I can’t run as hard and as long as I did then, either. I used to stay out with friends until 2 am, sleep a few hours, get to work by 8 am, and have plenty of energy for the day. Now I turn into a pumpkin at 10 pm and if I don’t get at least six hours of sleep, preferably seven or eight, I’m a zombie.

But I find the tradeoffs to be more than fair. So far, my 40s have been my best decade so far.

A few recent college graduates just joined the company where I work. I’ve been working longer than they’ve been alive! But if my experience is typical, their best is two decades ahead of them.

This may be my best decade, but the pinnacle of my career happened when I was in my 30s. Read that story


16 responses to “Halfway to 90”

  1. ryoko861 Avatar

    We’re slowing down Jim. Aging sucks, physically. Aren’t I a ray of sunshine this Monday morning?
    They say kids keep you young. They lied. I started going grey in my middle thirties, hit menopause as well. Someone is going to pay.
    I’m completely opposite. I just turned 51 on the 7th (You don’t strike me as being a Leo) and hated every minute of it. I would LOVE to be in my 20’s again. Or even 30’s. Anything past 40….forget it.
    Happy Birthday! Live long and prosper! :)

    1. Jim Avatar

      Somehow this comment wound up in my spam bucket! I had a really, really, really crappy 30s. And I didn’t know who I was in my 20s. So perhaps all is relative.

      1. ryoko861 Avatar

        As long as your comfortable in your skin now!

  2. Todd Pack Avatar

    Well, happy birthday, Jim! If only you knew in your 20s what you know today, right?

    1. Jim Avatar

      I’d probably have run screaming! :-)

  3. Ted Kappes Avatar

    Happy Birthday. I wonder what this blog will be like when you are 90?

    1. Jim Avatar

      Well, given that the oldest anybody can remember a Grey living to be is 77, we’re unlikely to find out!

      1. Ted Kappes Avatar

        That was true with my family also. Hardly any male lived past 70. However my Dad is now a fairly healthy 87.

  4. davidvanilla Avatar

    Felicitations! May you have a wonderful forty-sixth year. Guess you have now defined “middle age.”

    1. Jim Avatar

      Thank you! I prefer to look at it as being “king of the hill” instead.

  5. Kaitlin Avatar

    Happy Birthday Jim! Wishing you happy decades all the way. Hope you had a great day.

    1. Jim Avatar

      Thanks Kaitlin!

  6. Lone Primate Avatar
    Lone Primate

    The mother of one of my best friends was in her mid-30s when he was born, and he’s told me that she cried at his birth because it occurred to her he’d be motherless by the time he was her age. Well, he’s in his late 50s now and he’ll be driving up to visit her Labour Day weekend at her place, where she still lives independently in her 90s. You just never know. :)

    1. Jim Avatar

      It’s hard to imagine living that long when I have no role models! But I’m not working in the coal mines or in construction, where lung disease and accidents claimed so many family members, so hard telling.

  7. Lynn Avatar

    Well in the media they keep saying 60 is the new 40 so you would be in your new mid 20s? Happy birthday I hope it was eventfully uneventful.

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