I remember thinking of 40 as some distant trap. At 20 I wrote a rather insipid song about it, projecting myself forward twice the number of years I’d lived, thinking I’d be damn near decrepit by then. And yeah, my health sucked at that age, but little of it was due to truly natural causes. Stupidity of reckless youth caught up, overtook me.
The 50s are something else entirely. Opportunities come slowly, days flee rapidly. My brain is still 30 so it resists adapting. Maybe that’s why I feel so awkward: there’s at least a 20-year gap between my real and virtual ages. Inside I feel like a kid with wisdom. Outside… well, I try not to dwell on that aspect.
And two years now after she left, I don’t really miss my estranged wife. I should feel guilty for that, I guess. But I’m more selfish in these advanced years. I feel bad for being alone, and lonely. I miss having someone special. I miss going with someone to movies, concerts, other stupid little things. I miss a woman’s touch, her laugh. Even the occasional deserved lecture just for being a man.
There is a local woman I find interesting and attractive. An artist, of course, who I haven’t actually met in person. But she’s smart, talented and beautiful. She even laughs at my stupid jokes… at least, online. But I look in the mirror and see this fossilized Dorkasaurus Rex, and lose the will to start anything more. She couldn’t possibly be interested. So I swallow my pride and lock my heart. Maybe we’ll have coffee at some point, and she’ll give my old hand that firm “not interested” shake, and I’ll know for sure.
As painful as rejection is, it’s at least a thousand cuts above ignorance.
I don’t feel desirable anymore. Friends give me grief for saying that, but none of them are this ancient and unexpectedly single. They definitely mean well, but…
It’s all about perspective.
I hope I’ve successfully passed some on to my two sons. It’s all a father can ask: don’t make my mistakes. Make your own, sure, but here’s a list and set of instructions for ones you can and should avoid. Definitely take great care in making the decision to marry. Don’t assume you can burn or bury the red flags…
I don’t know where I’m going from here. Not with home, career or the things that truly matter. If this is a midlife crisis, though, do I really want to live to 108?
Time will tell.