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“Hey man, just figured I’d let you know that Sam is pregnant. Keep it on the down low, I haven’t told that many people but yeah, she’s due in six months.”
The above interaction was one I had a few months ago. Something markedly has changed in my life and, until this moment, I hadn’t really figured out what it was. He’s not my first (and certainly not last) friend to continue their gene pool so I checked that off the list. What I finally arrived at being the “change” was that my first reaction wasn’t, “Are you going to keep it?” but rather, “Congratulations man, that’s great. I’m happy for you!”
I’m becoming a real bona fide adult.
A few months ago, I lamented the fact that while I am legally an adult, I still get treated like less than one and I wondered when I’d get my “adult card” in the mail. What is even more unnerving is that while it seemed like a few months went by that I wrote this, it was actually over a year and a half ago.
I don’t really feel all that different but my body would tell you a different story. Last week at my men’s league game, I laid down to block a shot out of instinct. I blocked the shot but this damn bruise on the side of my leg looks like I got hit with a lead pipe and my once Wolverine-like healing seems to be more like Logan. Every week, I seem to be finding a new grey hair in my beard. I regularly have recurring nightmares about losing my hair, mostly because I would look like a penis without it.
Sometimes I feel like the world likes to make an example out of me. I’ve gotten my wish and my “Adult Card” is now signed, sealed, and delivered. My work team trusts me to drive lengthy distances alone to meet with stakeholders for important facets of our project, but there are still days I forget to zip up my zipper and regularly still spill food and/or coffee on myself.
Recently, I was in Kroger buying some beer. I do a lot of thinking in the grocery store as it is my dojo. As I was perusing the beer aisle and walking over to pick up a cheap rack, like I had done countless times, I noticed Oktoberfest was on the shelves. I absentmindedly picked up a case and placed it in my cart while putting back my rack of cheap beer and had an epiphany.
“Wow, I can choose when to buy cheap shit beer.” This may not seem huge to some of you but at one point in college, I paid for a 12-pack of Miller High Life before a snowstorm with the only money I had (quarters for laundry) and read online how to rig our fraternity house’s laundry machines with coffee stirrers. Yes, it worked and yes, I also did this at my first post-grad apartment to the tune of several hundred dollars worth of free laundry.
When I talk to older people (family and friends), no one ever seems to think of themselves as “old.” My mom recently hit 60 and told me, “I remember a time I thought 60 was ancient.” 60 is the new 50, 50 is the new 40, so on and so forth. It puts into the perspective that I feel “old” but in the grand scheme of things, I just finished the tutorial mode of life.
I go to work every day and curate my seemingly professional work-self. I’ve gotten into local politics and real estate. I have a garden and grape vines. I have boring, topical conversations so as to not offend anyone. People have started to call me, “Sir” and “Mr.” way more than I am comfortable with. I help people with their resumes and have been a reference for three people this year, two of them for FBI clearances. In the distance, I can see what I will become and it terrifies me. I used to be ‘with it’, but then they changed what ‘it’ was. Now what I’m with isn’t ‘it’ anymore and what’s ‘it’ seems weird and scary. Yes, it’ll happen to you too. .