My birthday is on its way. I will be thirty this year (as discussed here), and my faint hope that I would magically stop feeling like an old man has not come to pass, so I am left with this weird, low-level anxiety that I can’t seem to shake. I notice the lines in my face when I look in the mirror. My knees crack as loud as gunshots when I stand up from the couch. Current music has never sounded less listenable to my ears.
So last week I made a point of trying to do things that old men can’t do. At school, I did flips over the monkey bars and climbed the hanging rope without using my feet. At home I hit the weights. At kickboxing, I brought in my camera and tripod. I wanted to make pieces of physical proof for my daughter to see, years from now when her father is old and gnarled, that he was once a virile young man.
There are few practical applications for these maneuvers, even within the realm of combat sports, but it feels good to see myself poised in the air like an ugly extra in the one good Matrix movie. It tells me that thirty isn’t that old. It gives me hope that won’t be one of the dads hobbling after their ten-year-old child, clutching his back, wheezing and gasping as chucks of his white hair fall out.
I mean, I’ll be forty then. My life will pretty much be over.