Even as a child, I’ve always identified better with older people. Maybe it’s because I’m an old soul. Maybe I’m weird, I don’t know; it’s just always how I’ve been.
Growing up, both of my parents worked. My uncle lived nearby and was only 11 years older than me (my mom was married when he was born). I guess gramps slipped one past the goalie. He and his friends would often babysit us since my parents paid well, so even though I’d like to think we were alright kids, I guess the money was good enough to look past our little kid tendencies. As a result, I learned many things, and it was nice that the older “more mature” high school and college kids treated me as a peer rather than a nuisance.
In college, I interned with a local police department. My job was to assist in their research as a graduate student. Almost immediately, the chief and I became friends. He was going through a rough patch in life at the same time I was. We’d go out, have a few beers and talk. I never had an older brother growing up so it was nice to have someone in a position of power, only seven years older than me, to give me advice and guidance. Even to this day we remain friends, and he will likely be the one officiating my wedding.
If you’re ever new in a place and are looking for something to do or to meet people, I highly recommend checking out the recreational sports scene. Sports have been bringing people together forever, and it’ll scratch that competitive itch you have or perhaps let you relive your glory days of “If coach woulda put me in fourth quarter, we would’ve been state champions.” It’s great for meeting new friends, networking and keeping in shape.
A lot of the guys I play with are mid-30s to mid-40s. At first, I felt like I was a younger brother to them. We all hang out regularly and it’s nice to see what the future holds. Everyone is from a different background with different life circumstances. My team has diesel mechanics, I.T. guys, a lawyer, an electrician, raft guide, military serviceman, cops, bartenders, basically everything. I’ve learned so much from these people. I guess they like me alright enough to have given me the “A” (assistant captain for those that don’t play) the past three seasons.
I often get the “You’ll change your mind about kids” lecture from friends and family, but it’s a breath of fresh air to see that there are living, breathing functioning adults that don’t have kids and aren’t lepers or shunned from society. Admittedly, the ones without kids definitely look a lot younger. It’s also nice to see that husbands and wives can coexist while letting the husband enjoy getting out, as we all play hockey, golf and go out together.
I personally think everyone should have someone older than them in their life that is not a family member. It’s a lot easier to talk freely without constraints of someone knowing too much as well as a good way to gain perspective on the future. These people have been where I am now, lived through credit card debt, planned and unplanned pregnancies, parents passing, etc. They are battle-tested and offer up a bevy of real life insight. Many of them also live my dream of being the drunk uncle.
Having older friends gives you something to aspire to. Right now, the light at the end of the tunnel looks kind of bleak. Loan payments keep going up, unexpected car problems arise – there is always something. It’s nice to look at the future and see that while the light may be bleak, if you keep your feet moving, you’ll eventually get to it..
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