June 03, 2009

Playing it Safe

You can blame a lot of things on a man turning 40. There are all of the traditional and stereotypical things going on here. The desire for a sports car, the need to feel young and vibrant etc.

I admit to feeling all of those things. But I also can say that I truly don't feel old. Ok, so that is a contradiction to some of what I have said. I do feel the pressure of time. I do feel like there are more responsibilities and fewer chances to take a risk. All that is true.

But it doesn't change the overall feeling inside that I really am not old. I may not look like I did at twenty. I may have some mystery aches and pains that didn't exist, but mentally I don't feel like an old guy.

Ask my children and they'll tell you that their dad is a big kid. I chase them around the house ans wrestle with them. Little Jack and play handball. I challenge and win races against he and his friends all the time.

Ok, not that impressive to beat a bunch kids. But give me a break. In ten years they'll be on the verge of entering their peak and I'll be fifty. Got to take advantage of the opportunity to win while I can. And believe me, I am not conceding anything when I am fifty.

************************
Spent several hours at a school event last night. It was a dinner for the kindergarten class of 2009-10. The dark haired beauty was in rare form. Not long before we left she told me that she is a big girl and it won't be long before she is married and has a baby in her tummy. She emphasized the tummy part by sticking her belly out at me.
I smiled and told her that she has plenty of time to learn and grow before she becomes a mommy. She told me that she is ready. So I leaned over and told her that I am ready to speak to any boy that wants to help her become a mommy. She looked at me and told me that I wasn't going to speak to them, I am going to punch them in the nose.
Good to see that she understands the score. Truth is that little girl is going to take some little boy and turn him inside out. But just in case, I will be there. Good to know that she knows that.
Anyway, at the dinner I made a point of playing with the kids and then moseyed off to hang out with some of the fathers. We made the usual small talk about life. Batted around the idea of retirement and how if we pulled our kids out of private school we could retire earlier.
I laughed. Some of those guys are making so much money it is hard to believe that retirement is an issue that they worry about. Some of them played it safe, doctors and attorneys who moved into the family practice. I don't fault them for it.
At times I have wondered if I didn't make a mistake by playing it safe. There are easier paths to walk than the one that I have chosen. There are fewer bumps and bruises to be had by hiking the trail that has already been blazed. But that is not me. I like trying to Shoot the Moon. I like the razor's edge.
The trick is be aware of where you are at. I don't want to become the next Icarus. If it works. If I find that way to make it all happen then all is good. And if it doesn't, well, I have a fall back plan. The hard part is that falling back could end up being a literal experience and that is where my age comes into play.
It is not that you can't get back up, but the bruises and aches have a way of hanging on a bit longer than they did in the past. I guess that we'll see what happens.

3 comments:

tzvee said...

etc.? care/dare to elaborate?

Jack said...

Perhaps. ;)

V-Grrrl said...

I think the less thought you put into choosing your work/career, the more you settle, the more you think about retirement! It becomes the golden era when you finally do get to do what you want.

Taking the sometimes hard and uncertain road toward your "ideal" life early can prevent that kind of exhaustion and burnout. Maybe. For those attracted to the arts, life can be beautiful and financially painful and a little dangerous.