Halfway to 90

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 thoughts on “Halfway to 90

  1. 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! :)

  2. Lone Primate says:

    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. :)

    • 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.

  3. Lynn says:

    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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