Age is a state of mind. Nothing exemplifies this more than your first birthday as a father. Today marks that first birthday for me. Sure, I have a great job, a lovely, attractive wife, a nice house and a wonderful son but even with a steady career path and a wonderful family, I've never really thought of myself as an "adult" per se. Maybe its a function of society in 2006 with so many activities like video games designed to keep Generation X'ers from graduating into the everyday riggers of adulthood in an effort to foster a youthful mindset gone by. Then again, maybe I just don't want to grow up.
When I think of grown-ups, I think of my parents not me. When they moved into their house back in the 1970s, my father was YOUNGER than I am right now! Damnit, my dad is the old man not me! Maybe some perspective is need here: Kids who are in high school now were born a year after the first gulf war. Remember the OJ chase through Los Angeles? Current 9th graders were in diapers during that historic event. They don't even know what the dewey decimal system is...Oh the humanity!
Anyway, back to my mental mindset quagmire.
The key to fighting the mental mindset that is adulthood is to have goals--really, really hard goals that make you work. In order to quench the competitor in me, athletic type challenges are the best. Of course, it helps having a younger brother who is 12 years my junior to deed off of. So a quick pickup basketball game in the driveway at our parents' house (complete with an adjustable hoop) with the customary smacktalk during possession changes makes the games more heated, at least for me. I heard Michael Jordan would psych himself out during games into thinking that a rivalry existed when none did. This would ignite a fire within him and we all know the results: 6 championships. So, before these driveway games, I would employ the same techniques that his Airness would use. The result: Usually a loss for yours truly, a rolled ankle and a deflated ego.
The bottomline is that age is a mindset and through certain "creative" mental techniques, I've tried to push the thirtysome age factor to the backburner albeit in a losing effort. During my earlier years in the quest to defeat the effects of age, I decided to raise the bar to stratuspheric heights. My goal was to bench 315 pounds when I turned 30 in 2004. Yep, 3 plates on each side of a 45 pound bar. Through extensive training for 3 months prior, I did it! Two 2 solid reps at 10AM on March 7, 2004. However, the price was paid 18 months later with shoulder surgery to cleanup debris no doubt caused by my overzealous athletic endeavors. Since then, the bar has been lowered to more earthly levels. Last year on my 31st, my wife and I painted the kitchen.
Two years later on birthday number 32, I've scaled back my quest for athletic dominance. The shoulder is back to near normal and I'm back to playing video games with the best of them while enjoying time with my 8 month old son who chews on the controller cable while I play.
But you know, I can't ignore what lies ahead. The writing on the wall says the day is coming where my days of playing sports will end and my coaching days will begin.
But not this year. Baseball season is around the corner which means one more season playing with guys who were learning how to write their name with crayons when I was playing in college.
So here's to all of you who share a birthday with me. Please send a blank check in lieu of gifts.