Today I turn 36. I have a birthday request. If you drop by, leave a comment. I’m just curious who visits my small little corner of the internet. It will make my day if you’ll take a moment to say hello.
If you are fan of country music, you may remember a song from the 80’s by the Bellamy Brothers titled, “He’s an old hippie”. The chorus of the song says, “He’s an old hippie and he don’t know what to do. Should he hang on to the old, should he grab on to the new..”
In my head, I always pictured a guy in his 60’s, long pony tail, still trying to decide if he should trade in his Birkenstocks and weed for a pair of loafers and a pipe.
It came on the radio recently. I heard the intro music and smiled. I hadn’t heard this song in awhile and it was always fun to sing along with it.
The opening line nearly made me choke. “He turned 35 last Sunday, and his hair has found some gray..”
Wait, what?! 35! That’s an old hippie?!
It threw me for a loop. What were these guys thinking? 35 isn’t an old anything. Of course, I was making such a big deal about it because I was 35. How could I possibly be the same age as the old hippie? Most days, I still feel like a kid. I’m still waiting for the magical event that suddenly makes me start feeling like an adult. How could they think that someone would feel so out of touch by the age of 35?
But now that I think about it, I did find my first gray hairs last year. I haven’t played a game of basketball in the last 5 years. As a married man with kids, I’ve got more in common with someone 15 years older than me than I do with someone 5 years younger.
And, unfortunately, I found that magical event that finally made me start to feel like an adult. I realized that to an 18 year old girl, I’m twice her age. Which means she looks at me the same way I look at a 72 year old. I think I need a nap.
I dug in to the song’s history just a bit and discovered that David Bellamy wrote the song when he turned 35. Whether I agree with it or not, it’s what he was feeling at that time. As I look around, I have to accept that mid-30’s is not exactly a magical time for most guys.
A quick look around will tell you that most guys at 35 are in the worse physical condition of their lives. We are still young enough that we don’t acknowledge the slow down that has started to occur and therefore don’t change the habits that are making it worse.
By 35, a lot of us have given up on our first marriage. Most of our friends are couples we know through church, and that does seem to have some effect on the numbers. Thankfully, most of the couples we know are still intact. But are they happy?
I teach the young married couples class at our church. We’ve been doing it now for almost two years, which means we have been out of our age group’s class for two years and honestly, we’ve lost touch with a lot of their daily lives. I was talking to our associate pastor, who is mid-30’s, about the differences between the two classes.
Apparently, the mid-30’s class is a fairly unhappy bunch. They are discontent with life and they spend a lot of time arguing. We didn’t spend too much time on specifics, but I have strong suspicion that life is playing out exactly as they expected it to.
Ask them. It is just expected that they are tired of each other. The wives can’t wait to complain about how incompetent their husbands are. The husbands can’t wait to complain about how little sex they get. You’re supposed to be drowning in debt. Your kids are supposed to drive you insane because they don’t listen to a word you tell them.
I guess we didn’t get the memo. At 36, I look better than I did in college. I will acknowledge I don’t have quite the endurance I did then, but the sports phase is over anyway. My wife has regained her pre-children figure. We are a better looking couple now than when we were dating.
Rather than getting mired down in a depressing life, our world seems to be getting better every year. But why should we expect anything less?
I’ve got 13 years of marriage experience; I should be better at it than I was before.
I’ve got 11 years of parenting experience; I should be better at it than I was before.
I’ve got 9 years career experience; I should be better at it than I was before.
We’ve been trying to live financially responsible for the last 10 years. We should have more resources than we did before.
While I absolutely understand that I am an amazingly blessed man, I also understand that the secret to our success appears to be that we have an expectation that we as individuals and as a couple, should be getting better. I can’t imagine waking up at 36 years old and feeling like my best years were behind me.
So, do I feel older today? Nope. I feel better. It’s raining, so I’m staying home today. My wife has been giving me sexy eyes all morning. I assume we can find something worthwhile to do.
So, here is my birthday gift from my awesome wife. She sent a message to a couple we are friends with at church. They are a bit older than us, a bit like surrogate parents. She asked if we could drop the kids at church and then come park at their place and make out in the car. Completely juvenile, but would have been a blast! They messaged back and said they are out of town, the house is ours, have fun.