Sunday, March 28, 2010

Time Marches

Got two little boys.

Beautiful, brown, bouncing, beaming, bombastic babies bringing a bodacious bounty of bliss to Big Man's blessed being.

For real B'.

My oldest, who is nearly three-years old, has this habit of jumping in the air just to fall. Not on accident, on purpose.

He yells out "Look Daddy," then jumps in the air, kicks his legs up behind him like a maverick on the Wyoming plains, and then falls to his knees laughing.

It hurts my old bones just to watch him.

My younger son is nearing his first birthday. His will is so strong, I already know we gonna' have beef. When he doesn't get his way, he throws his arms up over his shoulders and tries to make the crown of his head touch his calves, while squealing in dismay.

I wince watching him contort.

Watching their youthful bodies revel in the joy of life, it forces me to consider my own increasingly feeble frame.

Oh, your average septuagenarian would scoff at my melodramatic language, but when I look at my babies, I think of the virility I once felt and I do feel feeble.

If not feeble, then I'll just say old.

I remember as a child how the concept of being "30," was as foreign and fantastical as dragons, and not nearly as interesting.

Once, as a child, I marveled at the fact that a then 35-year old Hulk Hogan could overcome the fragility of his ancient body to rip of his shirt for Hulkamaniacs worldwide.

When I related my surprise to my father, making sure to play up the fact that Hogan managed his magic despite knocking on death's door, my father calmly asked me how old I thought he was? In response to my blank stare, he said "I'm 35, too."

That seemed impossible because my daddy always felt old to me.

Adulthood belonged to a shadowy world where you had to stretch before exercising and were always rubbing nasty liniment on your muscles.

When I played marathon sessions of basketball, often lasting for five hours, I never contemplated a day when just getting off the couch to find the remote would be something I would avoid in favor of calling on the fresh legs on my son.

But, sadly, that day is here.

I'm not totally decrepit. In the last two years I've taken up jogging and I'm probably in better cardiovascular shape than I've been in for years.

Yet, I frequently wake up with mysterious ailments and pains. I find myself more careful about my steps, and conscious of stretching, yes stretching, before any strenuous activities.

The physically carefree days of my youth have vanished and I can only recapture their magic in random spurts. I have become old in mind and body, yet in many ways I don't feel "old" at all.

I wonder if this is how those in middle age feel when they are casually called "pops" or "mister." Do they recognize the inevitable march of time, but still feel themselves suspended in the present?

My momma used to say: "Son, getting old is better than the alternative."

Her wisdom helps me keep things in focus as I feel the green monster creeping into my mind while watching my youngsters frolic. Besides, while I may envy their freedom of movement, I don't envy the hard road they must still travel to get to where I am as a man.

Strangely the good news and bad news about growing old are actually the same news.

You can't go back.




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7 comments:

Deacon Blue said...

At 42, I have a nice set of reminders myself, and a 4.5 year old to remind me even more of my limitations.

But, I do my best to teach her to respect that I have limits, and I push them just as far as a I need to so that I can make her happy.

It's all good in the end, and I have very few jealousies with regard to younger men vis-a-vis my own situation.

But it has brought home the fact that I'm probably not young enough for any more wee ones.

LisaMJ said...

I swear sometimes you lurk in my head b/c sans kids, I've been thinking about the same stuff lately. I know that I'm not old for real and my Mom and other 60 and 50 somethings scoff at me when I say it, I'm feeling the creeping slowness and not feeling quite the same and not as excited in general about things. Almost like the darkness is gradually seeping in. I'm trying to snap out of it and keep telling myself that when I'm in my 50's or even in my 40's I'll look back at my 30's and think, "what a whippersnapper." I already do that when I look back on my 20's but somehow, so far it isn't making me feel better.

Deaf Indian Muslim Anarchist! said...

yeah man, time flies by fast.

blackgirlinmaine said...

My eldest turned 18 last month which has completely screwed with my mind..after all I think I am still young. Yet when the law says your baby is old enough to not only drive but vote, buy butts, and go to war you start to realize you have turned a corner.

In the past year my body seems to have those aches you talk about which I am now realizing is just part of the aging process. Yet my mind is far better than it ever was so I say take the good with the um, bad. Its a shame we get wisdom when our bodies start to ache.

Big Man said...

BGIM

I always think about all the changes I would make if I could go back in time with my current brain.

But, alas, that ain't how God made the world.

LisaMJ

Yeah, I know that when I'm 40, I'll laugh at the idea that I thought I was an old man when i was still in my 20s. Although I'm just barely in my 20s.

Renee said...

I am gonna come clean and say I stopped celebrating my birthday a few years ago. I now celebrate the anniversary of my 30th birthday. I am not doing well with the whole aging thing. I remember when I used to be one of the youngest in the room and it has been sometime since this has been the case. My little boy is almost as tall as me and it seems like yesterday that I used to be able to pick him up. Time goes way to fast.

ch555x said...

I look at age more like maturity than just getting old. You know what would and could ail you, know your limits, and still be pretty well off. Then again, I'd gladly take the physique of Hulk Hogan or even Ric Flair at their current ages (and the money!).

Raving Black Lunatic