I grow old . . . I grow old . . .I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.
—T.S. Eliot, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”
When I turned 20, I had a quarter-life crisis. I remember getting on the bus to go to college that cold, rainy morning feeling that since I was wasn’t officially a teenager anymore, I had to grow up and be a responsible adult. Looking back, I wonder why I even felt that way. At the time I lived by myself, was in the middle of my junior year of college, was in a relationship with a girl who would eventually become my first wife, and had a part-time job. I was about as grown up as one can be at that age. And even though those feelings faded away a few weeks later, I still cringe every time my birthday rolls around and there’s an extra candle to blow out.
Today our youngest child turned one. And as I fed her a breakfast doughnut this morning, I couldn’t help but feel old. Really, really old. Yeah, it’s silly to feel this way. I’m 37 and in a lot of ways am at the prime of one’s life. Besides, there’s nothing I can do to stop the aging process. (But if someone knows of some ways to reverse it, please let me know.) All I can do is stay active and try to age as gracefully as one can.
It’s not like again isn’t all bad. I like the wisdom that comes with age and experience. And looking over my life I have nothing to complain about. Mentally my mind feels active and alert. Aside from the sore knees that follow running long distances, I’m in great health. I have a great wife and five wonderful kiddos. I’m writing books better and as a faster pace than ever and I’m still 2.5 years away from hitting the big 4-0.
Still it would be nice to go back in time to that morning I got on the bus, having the first day of that inane quarter-life crisis and just enjoy feeling 20 for the rest of the day.