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.
I went personal for Trifecta Writing Challenge’s “New” word prompt –
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.