Last month I
suffered celebrated my 35th birthday, a milestone birthday inasmuch as it was my first as a father. While the boys did pretty much nothing to honor their pater (I even suspect that the cards they got me are forgeries), K got our former sitter to come watch the ingrates so that the two of us could go out.
Having time away from the twins is rare. This was the third “date” we’ve been on and also the longest. Planning grown-up time is more difficult when it comes so infrequently; we want to make the most of our time, so there is more of a panic when figuring out what to do than even our usual days together. That said, the urgency also forces us to land on plans sooner rather than later and get our wishy-washiness out of the way before the day of. We actually went out on the Sunday following my birthday, as I had to work the day of.
I’d been wanting to go to Fish Tale Brewpub, a local(ish) place an hour or so south in Olympia. You can see my review here.
We’d also been wanting to visit the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, a protected estuary at the delta of the Nisqually River where it enters the Puget Sound. We were entering “waterfowl season”, but aside from lots and lots of Canada geese (yes, “Canada”, not “Canadian”), there wasn’t a lot of wildlife wandering about. Still, it was a beautiful fall day and we enjoyed a nice outdoor stroll on the boardwalk.
Turning thirty-five was a more emotional birthday than I ever would have thought, and not just because it was my first b-day as a dad. I feel like I’m at the age where everyone older than I thinks I’m young and that I’m naive for feeling old, and everyone younger thinks I’m officially old. I’m five years from 40, but I still feel much closer to my early 20s.
On the dad front, it struck me for essentially the first time how late in life (compared to our original goals) we’ve had children. I started doing “when I’m”, a branch of mathematics in which one measures how many hours of sleep they’ll get if they fall asleep right now, justifies dating someone of a radically different age, and morosely plots landmark years in their children’s development relative to one’s age.
So, on my birthday, it dawned on me that when my boys turn 35, I’ll be 70. With the way I carry stress and with my unhealthy vices (read: pizza and those damned addictive white Rockstars), odds are pretty decent that I won’t live to see them turn 50. I suppose that’s probably the case with lots of parents, but it doesn’t make it an easier pill to swallow.
I haven’t thought much about getting older since my 30th, and never really before that. I hadn’t planned on thinking much about it now either, but it’s different with the kids here.
I’ve suddenly become hyper-aware of how fast time is zipping by, and I fear that my future will be as filled with mistakes, missed opportunities, wasted time, and absolutely forgettable moments as my past has been.
I felt like I crossed a landmark when I turned 30, but this is the first time I felt old. Not old-old, but not young. No longer invincible, no longer so far from midlife crises, retirement, and dementia that I don’t ever think about them. I need to take my weight more seriously, watch my cholesterol, get life insurance, and start buying my clothes from Lands End and Stein Mart.