It’s hard for me to see myself as others now see me. I’m almost 40, bald (although I shave my head thank you very much!), I wear a suit to work, own a house, drive a sedan, have a son…for all intents and purposes I’m a white, middle class dad whose nearing middle age. I’m closer to the demographic of Men of a Certain Age than I am Friends. And yet I don’t feel like it.
In so many ways I still feel like the guy I was in college. Back then I was hip, at least I thought I was hip. I went to coffee houses, bought my clothes at the Salvation Army, danced all night in Goth bars, was in an industrial band, knew about art, dated artists and dancers, I wrote poetry for Christ’s sake. I would think that sort of lifestyle afforded one a certain cache that they carried with them into their thirties and forties. The way I look at, I should be the David Bowie or Sting of the sell outs and those who were unsuccessful at some vaguely artsy career in their twenties and settled into “straight” jobs in their thirties. Sadly though, that’s not how I’m seen.
I thought for sure that there was a look people like me would have when they reached my age. We wouldn’t, we couldn’t, look like our parents right? We read Douglas Coupland and watched Reality Bites and Singles, we were into Grunge and were intentionally sarcastic and intellectual, we had a sense of style. When I look in the mirror on a typical work day though I look, well, I look like my dad. Oh sure, I’m not wearing the bad ties and short sleeved dress shirts but I’m no closer to Bowie or Sting than he was. What the hell happened?!
The way I see it, I’m in uncharted territory. I know I’m hipper than my parents were. Maybe every generation is hipper than their parents, I don’t know. I know that I’m hipper and more together than my parents. My wife and I still listen to amazing music, go to concerts, my wife’s an artist, I still play in bands, my son listens to Miles Davis, David Bowie, My Chemical Romance, The Doors (OK, and Big Time Rush but clearly his mom and I are doing our part.) I still read authors that “adults” don’t read, watch TV shows “grown ups” don’t care for, still live a lifestyle older counterparts in my office just don’t get. And yet…and yet, in reality I am a parent and an adult–I do have responsibilities and care about the school district my son lives in, still attend parent/teacher conferences and actually work on areas where improvement is needed. I have a landscaping company that does my lawn. I have a lease at a parking garage. Like I said, uncharted territory in some strange vortex of time. Too hip to be middle aged but too old to be cool.
I know the fact that I even think about these things mean that I’m not really a grown up. Adults don’t worry about these things, they just are, I have never just been and am pretty sure I’ll never reach that place of Zen. I’m definitely in an odd spot. I show up for events at my kid’s school and I’m more together than half the parents there and yet I don’t fit in at the grown up table either. Men my age tend to wear some form of soft leather loafer or sandal without socks and a button down, short sleeved, casual shirt with pictures of monkeys wearing monocles. They all look like they should be at a Jimmy Buffett concert. They tend to golf. They talk about sports teams and games, stock portfolios and Glenn Beck. I am not one of these people and don’t understand how the hell we’re from the same gene pool.
Where am I going with this? What’s the point of this rambling internal monologue you’ve been reading so patiently? Well, the fine folks at Popblerd have consented to giving me a weekly column. I’ll be using that space to try and figure this stuff out publicly. It will be humorous for the most part, occasionally rambling. Often times there will be rants. In the end, hopefully some of you reading this will be in similar situations and be able to identify with what I’m writing. Maybe we’ll help each other figure out who we are and what we’re becoming.
I’d like to think that’s the case, if not I’m just some lone nut screaming into the woods sounding like a crazed Andy Rooney. I’m looking forward to sharing this space with you as I work my way towards my midlife crisis. Next week we’ll start the journey.
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