Just As I Thought

Ego time

Let’s talk about me for a while, shall we? Me, me, me. Myself.
And in particular, my age.
It’s a strange subject. People usually seem to fall into two categories: those who lie about their age and obsess about it, and those who don’t.
As usual, I tend to be the unknown third category.
Most of the time, I don’t think at all about my age. There are actually strange moments when I forget how old I am and have to think for a moment about the math.
I’m 37, by the way.
But sometimes I tend to get flustered about it.
I’ll be 38 in 34 days.
At those times, I have this strange duality. Part of me is very happy that I simply don’t look my age. I love that. Part of me is upset that there are gray hairs starting to sprout here and there. Since they aren’t congregating in one place, say, my temples, I don’t worry about it because they just look like highlights.
But the other part of me is unhappy. I think the main reason I don’t like being this age is that I haven’t led a very outgoing, social, and upwardly mobile life. I seem to be drifting through it, and I feel like I should have accomplished much more than I have.
When I see people who are my age, it seems like they’re much, much older than me. They look older, they are less likely to be single and alone, they’re more likely to have a high-paying fulfilling job… there’s nothing more annoying than meeting a 26-year-old high-paid lawyer when you’re a 38-year-old art director in a low-paying non-profit job.
I do things now and then that are more fulfilling, helping various groups and individuals for a good cause, but that doesn’t seem to relieve the feeling that I’ve made nothing of my life, and I may not have the opportunities to change it. Face it, how many people really make a massive change in their life or attitude when they’re nearing 40? It’s almost as if the cement has set, as if all the choices that come your way are only there in the first couple decades.
I’ll spend my birthday by myself, at home, probably watching the Olympics or something. When my family calls to wish me happy birthday, I’ll joke about being old. I’ll laugh about it and find the whole thing amusing and silly. I’ll laughingly say at work that I just turned 33.
Then I’ll have another of those days, and feel ancient.

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