My Generation


Thirty-five years ago I heard The Who’s rock anthem, My Generation, for the first time. It was 1977.  I just finished the first grade. The line, “I hope I die before I get old”, made me laugh so hard I shot Nestle Quik chocolate milk through my nose. The singer, Roger Daltrey, was 32 at the time and I remember thinking, “he’s old!”. Earlier today, at age 41,  I heard My Generation. When that line blared through my car speakers, I laughed so hard I spilled my diet dr. pepper and pulled a muscle in my back.

Accepting middle-age is a new situation for me. When I turned 40 almost two years ago, I handled it poorly. I made life for my wife and kids awkward and difficult. As a kid, people who in their forties seemed ancient.

I’m young for my age. While I’m carrying fifteen pounds I’d like not to with gray in my beard, and pains in places that I didn’t even know could hurt, I don’t look like dudes I knew who were 41 when I was younger. I have eight tattoos. My CD collection is more impressive than my teenage daughter’s, and I’ve adapted to the life of internet and social media with aplomb. I believe I’m more open-minded and self-aware than my parents.

Holding on to youthfulness is a foolish dream. In about ten days I’ll take a family vacation to Disney in Florida. I’m already dreading the long lines, sweltering weather, high prices, and what my back and feet will feel like when the sun goes down on each day. These are things a young man doesn’t care about.

The biggest issue I have with aging is how difficult it is it to maintain myself, physically. Going to the gym is a chore, a necessary evil, that is consistently shirked in lieu of father and husband duties. Roger Daltrey, wherever you are, I hope I don’t die so I can appreciate old.

****blogger’s note****

read to be read at yeahwrite.me

I went personal for Trifecta Writing Challenge’s “New” word prompt – http://www.trifectawritingchallenge.com/ and thus why I only wrote 333 words of my middle-age lot.

Here’s The Who, when they were young, on The Smothers Brothers Show. Crank it, before you get old.

About these ads

99 responses to “My Generation

  1. It’s funny how the years can change your perspective. It made me sit up and take notice last year when I realized I was exactly the age my mother was when I made her a grandmother. I can’t say I feel remotely grandmotherly yet.

    • yeah, my parents were 37 and 39 when I graduated high school. I’ll be 43 when my oldest graduates. weird isn’t it?

      i cant imagine being a grandparent in my 40s. great comment. thanks

  2. Good post, Lance. You’ve just echoed so many of the same thoughts I’ve had! Hey, how about when we were in our early 20′s, and at a club, and people in their 30′s seemed EW-OLD!?! I don’t know. I’m liking 40. You’re right: the gym is a necessary evil, but I feel better now than I did 10 years ago, and that’s pretty cool. And damn, you know you’re hip.

    • I know. Rememeber the 35 year-old dudes and dudettes taht creeped us out?

      The only thing “hip” I am is a sore hip when I do dancing video games with my girls. thanks dude

  3. I think you’re pretty cool for an old guy. Just kidding–you’re younger than me by a few years. But I can so relate to the 40s feelings. I have a four year old, and he makes me feel every one of my years on some days!

  4. When I was 16, a girlfriend and I used to go to a restaurant and say “Look at those thirty year old women. We’re never going to be that old.” Well… been there, done that, and bought the DVD.
    The alternative to growing old isn’t pretty. To think I’m older than when John Lennon died really makes me sad. Time goes by so quickly.

    Now I’m depressed, thanks Lance! (just kidding)

    eden

  5. Oh, the maintenance.

    And as for Disney? You need to breathe, and not plan too much. I’ve been a dozen times, as a kid, as a teen, as a college student, as a single adult, a married adult, a mom… just suspend your disbelief and let it roll…

  6. ROCK on, Lance. You are T-t-talking about it. I love the contrast between your awkward 40 year old self and yourself as you adjust just a few years later. Cam’s right about Disney. Don’t plan too much and just enjoy it. BUT. Plan your express tickets or whatever those things are, early. You can walk up to the most popular rides and get express tickets for free, as long as you’re willing to come back at a certain time. It slices through your wait times like a hot knife.

  7. So, I’m a lot older than you. Age is in the mind until the body reminds us, I agree (diet dr. Pepper and back pulls, ha) Nothing makes up for experience as boring as that sounds. I kinda feel like I shot back ten years. Maybe because the kids are away at school. More time to rest up. I agree with Cameron, let Disney roll and pack your patience!

  8. Good luck on the Disney trip! I can relate to thinking differently as we age. When I was younger, I thought ‘older’ women were stupid for wasting money on those expensive anti-aging creams, because, well, you can’t stop the inevitable. I’m so tempted to try them now.

  9. Oh, I hear you… especially the part about the gym taking a back seat to family stuff. I was telling a woman (who doesn’t have kids) at the gym the other day that I wouldn’t be able to take part in a race because of my boys’ baseball games. She said, “You have to make time for yourself.” I thought, this gym will still be standing for a long time after my kids are done with little league. When I do stuff for them, I’m doing it for myself–that’s the difference between me in my 40′s and me in my 20′s.

    • I’m “working from home” today because my teenager is at cheerleading camp and my two younger girls are nursing colds. The gym is being skipped today so I can stay home with them, the wife can go to work, and everything can be put into place….i know what you mean.

  10. Man, I’m right there with you. Everything you said is me (except for the tattoos and the daughters). It’s uncanny.

    I saw The Who a few years back right after Entwhistle passed when they decided to go on tour and dedicate it to him. It was one of the best shows I’ve seen (forgetting Robert Plant who opened – he was horrible and that was a HUGE disappointment) – they still rocked, windmill guitar playing and microphone slinging the whole night. They’re still enjoying life and I can only hope to do the same.

    • yeah, once thing about middle-age is everything is relative and relatable

      I saw Plant and Page in 1994 and they were good. I’ve heard Plant’s lost his voice since then. that’s sad.

  11. Last week, my oldest “graduated” Kindergarten (yeah, I know…what’s that about right?!). Anyways…at the end the announcer said “presenting the future class of 2024″ and my stomach dropped. He will graduate high school exactly 30 years after my husband and I did! Wow! And 2024? When I was a kid, 2024 was The Jetson’s in my mind!

  12. I am going to be very very close to 60 when my sons graduate from high school. I wish it bothered me, but it doesn’t. I don’t feel like I look or act 42, and most days I act a whole lot younger. (which may or may not be a good thing) Like someone said, I will age but growing up is optional and I can set that to the back for the bus for as long as I want. I look at my mom and see that it’s possible to stay beautiful, fun and sexy (not that I am really any of those things as much as she is) and I smile because I just might have DNA on my side for a while.

    It’s hard to believe that I am here, in this age right now, I still feel 25.

    This was a good read, it was honest and just for the record you don’t look your age either, I think that wtih all those women in your house, they don’t see the 15 lbs or the gray,,,instead they see you and while I don’t really know you, I am sure you are more than enough for all of them my friend.

    • haha….discounts are the best thing about being older.

      You are my mother’s age. she said the same thing about 40. That Zager and Evans song creeped me out as a kid.

  13. Did I ever send you the link to my Disney World pics? If not, let me know. You’ll have a blast! I bet you will spend a lot of time at Hollywood Studios…Tower of Terror for the win!! And the Rock n Roll Coaster will be right up your alley assuming you like coasters :)

    It’s funny how people our current ages always seemed SO ancient when we were kids. Damn, do my kids look at me that way? I don’t feel like a grown up at all…

  14. Oh, yes, I remember when even 30 seemed old! I have to admit, though, these days I assume that wherever I am is normal for whatever my age happens to be; I suspect when I hit 40 I will not feel old and thus decide that 40 is young. Comforting, if not necessarily realistic!

  15. Lance,

    These feelings are familiar for me too, though I’ll be 36 this summer. I’m having my tubes tied in a few weeks and that’s part of it, i think. I feel old.my mom was 26 when she had me and i was 29 when i had my twins. she had her last baby at 32, and me at 35. funny how just a few years can make such a difference.

    p.s. i have a tattoo, too. but not so hip on the music…LOL!

  16. I completely understand everything you are saying. I had a HUGE problem turning 40 but after a few years something clicked. JUST CLICKED!!! Now I’m lookin’ at the big 5-0 and lovin’ every damn minute of my life. I’m more self confident, self aware and live every day to the fullest. I wouldn’t go back to life before 45 (well except for my pre 45 butt) that’s for sure.

  17. I’ve just only turned 29 but after three baby’s in three years I can tell you I FEEL old. I thought I had another 20 to go before I began hobbling around and muttering like a lunatic. Well apparently it only takes a few toddlers to accomplish that! I hope you have a great time in Disneyland!

  18. My parents were 38 when I graduated high school and when I was 16, I walked in on them in an “intimate” moment (oh god there is not enough bleach for the mind) and was beyond horrified at the time. Of course now I realize they were only 37 years old…

    And I’m 43.

    So yeah. It’s all relative. I’ve been surprisingly okay with aging (except for a brief squirm on my 40th when confronted with all the posters my kids made me with these giant numbers 4 and 0 all over them…).

    But what I’m still not okay with at all is death. Like I’m really not okay with it.
    In fact, terrified is an understatement.

    So I’ll take 43. 44. And every number after that. Because I don’t want to die.
    When I’m old or ever.

    • we feel the same. I’m ok with everything. I’m just amazed at the progression of my attitude and how my body is at 41, almost 42. I never caught my parents in anything, thank goodness. Its hard to realize they were a year older than I when I graduated college.

      thank for commenting julie

  19. This is a lovely post, capturing the sentiments of someone in the 40′s so well.
    I am one of those who thought that to be 40 is to be ancient. I am way past that and loving it, so much so that I even marvel at the aches that pop every now and then. I do hope that the wisdom we’ve earned will more than make up for the loss of youth’s beauty. :-)

  20. I like how you ended this. I’m 34, but in my 30′s have noticeable changes in my body and upkeep of my “in shape” condition. I used to be able to not run for 2 weeks and then jump right back on the treadmill and run for 5 miles straight. Now, if I take 2 days off, I can barely make it through 3miles at a walking pace. But you’re right. I hope I grow old so I can appreciate it.

  21. Hahaha. I love how you pulled a muscle in your back — I’ve been there. And I know what you mean about staying physically fit, though I’m carrying more than the extra 15 pounds you have. In fact, I’m at such a point of un-fitness that I cannot even picture myself in shape. That’s not good.

    Like you said, I want to live long enough to appreciate old.

    So, I’ll meet you at the gym in 30?

  22. Haha, I like this. My mom will be 51 this year, and she’s in better shape than people my age. I simply cannot understand my friends, who are not even 30, whine about getting “old.” “Waahh, I’m 25, my fun is over, I’m so old.” Are ya freakin kidding me? Blows my mind.

    • I love my wife but she’s only 35. i have no sympathy when her and her buddies talk about age. try almost 42, knuckleheads

      thanks for commenting

  23. First of all, that first paragraph was epic. I read it out loud to Hot Joe (37 – youngster) and we both lauged out loud. I am 41 and you know what Lance? I LOVE IT. I had the highest and lowest points in my 30s and things keep getting better for me here even if I DO rent and DON’T travel. I walk/run 15 miles a week, I have an amazing amazing hot husband and beautiful sweet 12-year-old son in addition to two awesome pups and a kitty. And I get it now. Great post.

  24. I remember being in high school and thinking how old my freshly turned 30-year old teacher was. Sigh. So naieve, aren’t we!?

  25. I turned 40 last year and I SOOOO know what you are talking about.
    When you wrote about how people seemed much older when we were young, I had to laugh out loud. I think I was about 6 or 7 and my 28 year-old aunt seemed so old at the time – and I told her. She did not speak to me for a long time ;)

  26. I am not totally freaked by turning 40 this year, but I am sort of legitimately surprised that I am. I too feel more self-aware than my parents, but I was a self-obsessed teen when my parents were 40—maybe that’s how my kids see me. Now you have me thinking. Erin

    • no, I understand your feeling Erin. we’re all self obsessed as teens. I just think we’re a little better than our parents at understanding our kids and our place in the world.

  27. I had this whole list – of crap I was going to do before I got “old” – 30. Then I got closer to 30 and my list was pushed back to 40. Now I’m getting closer to 40 and… well, that list has suddenly become things I want to do before I turn 50.

    • i don’t believe in bucket lists. first of all, I have 3 girls. there wants come before mine so if I don’t travel or whatever before a certain age, I don’t want to feel like I’ve failed. but yeah, i get the feeling,. thanks.

  28. I never felt this age thing until these past two years. Suddenly I feel it, notice it, see it.

    I hope you enjoy Disney. For god’s sake wear comfortable shoes, a hat, and sunblock. We’re old now. We need these things :)

  29. That was great. You’ll get through it. At about 42 1/2 my CD collection exploded. I bought the Greatest Hits of every band from ’65 to ’85. Then I started my “triathlon phase.” It’s okay, just so you don’t do anything stupid — like pull the head off of Mickey Mouse. Good luck.

  30. haha. i rememeber my parents 30th birthday and never thinking i would be that old… now, in two years it will be me, and my kids can take their turns staring at me in horror. :)

  31. First off, thank you for getting that song st-st-stuck in my head :) I’m about to turn 37 and it seems a little ridiculous. Isn’t that kind of getting old? I hope I’m gracious about turning 40, 50, etc…

    • its what I do…read some more posts…there are plenty of awesome songs that can get lodged in your consciousness. thank you for commenting.

  32. Thanks for linking up this week, Lance. I love it when you write from the heart like this. I get it. I remember when I was a kid, someone at my dad’s workplace died. My parents kept saying, “He was just a kid!” Turns out, the kid was 29. I remember telling them, “He’s OLD.” Heh.

    My secret to staying young was to marry old. Yes, I’m aging. But I’ll always be younger. :-)

    Thanks for sharing.

  33. So, lying here on the couch because I wrecked my back putting the kid back in bed last night (he’d fallen out), this line made me laugh loud enough to need more Aleve: “When that line blared through my car speakers, I laughed so hard I spilled my diet dr. pepper and pulled a muscle in my back.”

    Among all the bloggers I’ve discovered since Cam dragged me into this, you are one of my favorites. :)

  34. Lance, I have two batches of kids. Three by the time I was 22. When the first “baby” graduated, I was only 37 and I thought “wow! look at what I’ve got ahead of me! I did this right” 2-1/2 years later, we discover we have a new baby on the way. I was 42 when she was born. I’ll be 60 when she graduates from High School. ~~~~shuddering~~~~ At times she keeps me young and at other times she makes me feel every minute of my 52 years…LOL!

    • good grief…i can not imagine a baby at this age…no way. i like my girls kinda sorta taking care of themselves. plus…i don’t want to have to be pushed into my kids graduation…although that may still happen

  35. I find myself often wondering when did I stop enjoying things. I don’t look at a roller coaster with the same thrill I used to. I feel more fear in those thrill seeking things than I used to, especially if its my own kids that want to try it.

    At the same time, I can look back on my life and go “Oh!” and carry it with me. I loook forward to the next 40.

  36. Just imaging you are 60, and you’ll think of the age you are at now as an early youth. And when you’re 60, go ahead and try on a thought of being 90-year-old… you’ll realize – 60 is young! by the way, 50 is new 40. So, you are like… 33?:)

Whatdya Got?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s