Coming to terms with my age
Last week I put another year of my life behind me and began a new one as my 29th birthday came and went.
It was an odd situation. For the first time in my life, I felt like I was getting old.
My body has shown signs of aging during the past few years, but I attributed them to things other than my accumulation of years on Earth.
For several years I have watched as my dark brown hair lost a few battles against an invading gray army. Since this began, I have noticed the gray hairs claiming more and more territory as the brown ones steadily retreated into history.
At least they are being replaced by gray ones and not falling out.
In addition to the loss of brown hair, my ability to get by on a few hours of sleep each night has also left me.
I have always been a night owl and, in my early twenties, it was not unusual for me to stay up until about 3 a.m. then get up for a 7 a.m. class with no problems.
Now, it is rare for me to be awake past midnight and even rarer for me to be out of bed by 8 a.m.
Even with the decline of my body, I did not feel like I was getting older, because I had a young mentality.
Two things happened last week that made me realize how far in the past my youthful days were behind me.
The first thing that got my attention was a story about a first grade teacher in Limestone County who had her students write letters to their future selves. She delivered the letters last week as her former students prepared for their high school graduation.
It did not bother me until I read when this year's seniors wrote those letters – May of 1998.
It was the month I graduated high school.
The other situation that made me realize I was losing my youthful exuberance was the mini vacation my wife and I took to New Orleans.
We only spent two full days there, but by the end of the first day, I was ready to get home.
It was not that I did not enjoy the trip – it was our first real vacation in nearly three years – I just kept thinking about home.
We had fun venturing through the French Quarter and visiting the site of our wedding.
My thoughts, however, were a few hundred miles north.
Instead of enjoying the party scene of Bourbon Street and the artistic atmosphere of Royal Avenue, I worried about our recently planted garden – which is strange because I never was very good with plants.
As we returned to the hotel room at 8:30 p.m. Saturday so we could pack and get plenty of sleep before we had to get up to catch a 7:00 a.m. train Sunday I realized I no longer thought I was getting older.
I knew I was getting older.
The strange thing was I no longer cared.