Our Story Begins:
Older and Wiser
Yep . . . there’s more snow on the roof. The front porch is a liiiiitle wider than it should be. The windows are a little thicker.
I have to face it, for sure, I’m getting older.
But where we all tend to fight and ignore the aging process there are things I accept and am actually quite happy about.
Sure . . . I should be exercising more, I fell off the wagon here and there and have gained a few pounds back. I fight that part of the aging process because, frankly, I am tire of being tired. I am tired of not looking as good as I once did.
But the things about being a bit older and weathering everything I have weathered even in the past five years have given me perspective, maturity, and wisdom that I don’t know I could say were there when I was in what everyone seems to call those “formative years.”
I’m a single dad. That’s just a statement of fact. Yet taking care of four kids by myself when I was 24 versus 40? That would have been a totally unnerving possibility. I certainly could have fallen apart and taken the low road and just let my life slide into oblivion; that’s certainly something I wanted to do on more than one occasion.
Yet now, more than five years beyond the loss of my wife . . . nearly four years after watching my oldest child go to college . . . and seeing my middle ready to head to college herself, I realize that there are a lot of things that I would never have come to appreciate when I was my younger self.
First off, there’s the parenting. With that first kid you’re over-protective. It’s not because you think they’re God’s gift to the world (okay, maybe some parents d0). It’s because you’re scared to death that you’re going to do something wrong. I will say, though, that if I was going to suffer a life change like I did, being older may very well have been the best time to face it.
I took to caring for my kids without hesitation. I bake, I cook, I clean, I do laundry, I fix the cars, I play football at the park . . . I do both jobs. I never thought once about the fact I had to do it. Had I been younger and less mature I might very well have spent a lot of time complaining that this all fell on my shoulders. At this point in my life? It fell on my shoulders. It isn’t a terrible thing and it isn’t always a wonderful thing. But I do accept that they’re my kids . . . I chose to have these children so do what needs to be done.
Personally? I am in a far better place. I came to realize the things I didn’t appreciate when I was married. The touch of someone next to me; kissing someone you care about; the feeling you get when you do something nice for no reason . . . they’re all things I do now and appreciate every moment of them. Little things that might have gotten under my skin at 26 are blips on the radar at 46. I could care less about things. Life isn’t a roller coaster anymore . . . there are highs and there are steady moments. The up/down/up/down is not what I strive for. I want amazing and beautiful and have the tools to deal with the terrible if it happens.
The upside is the fact that I also have the wisdom to know how to avoid those terrible lows.
So yes . . . I’m okay with being older. I ache, I am heavier and I feel tired a lot but I also love what that time has given me. I wouldn’t change it for the world.