When did I get old?

I just got home from my weekly coed softball game, and realized something: somewhere along the way, I’ve gotten old.

I suppose it happened slowly and incrementally so I wouldn’t notice.  I got married, had a couple of kids, got a serious career and a mortgage, and eventually became an adult.  I’m convinced it’s a conspiracy of the government, Wal-Mart, the Democrats, and oil companies – somehow they all profit from my unwilling maturity.

I used to look forward to Saturday nights at the club, partying the night away.  Now, with the exception of a few late night feedings, I couldn’t tell you the last time I saw 2am.  Not so long ago I had boundless energy, and could go for days on just a few hours sleep.  These days, I look forward to getting in bed by 10:00pm.

I used to be able to eat everything in sight – chili dogs, jalapenos, double cheeseburgers – but in my newly realized adulthood, acid reflux and fears of high cholesterol keep me away from most of these sins.  I have realized the effects of a slowing metabolism, and find that food tends to stick with me – permanently – moreso than it did a decade ago. My pants still fit well, but they’re a little bigger than they used to be.

My buddies and I used to get into our gas guzzling sports cars and drive around for hours, without purpose or destination.  These days, I complain about gas prices every time I climb in my F150.  There was a day when I was convinced that I’d drive nothing but a Ford Mustang.  I wonder if I could squeeze 2 child seats into the back of a ‘Stang?  Alas, the days of driving purely for pleasure are long gone.  Hey, at least I don’t have to drive a minivan (yet?)…..

There was a day when I looked forward to my measly payday while working my first job in retail.  I spent all of my money on myself, and seemed to afford a glamourous livestyle on what turned out to be very near minimum wage.  These days, I make about ten times what I did back then, but somehow I have less money for myself than I did back then.  My biggest cost concern used to be how much it cost to rent a jet-ski at Texoma; now, I complain that I spend more on child care than my mortgage.  I used to be able to tell you exactly how much it cost to have a car washed and detailed; these days, I’m more likely to be able to tell you exactly how much I have in my retirement account at any given time.

I’ve traded Beavis and Butthead for Bert and Ernie.  Pearl Jam has been replaced with Wheels on the Bus.  Instead of looking for loose change in the sofa, I search for missing pacifiers and Hot Wheels cars.  And last month, as my oldest finally left the diapers behind to use the potty, I actually cheered over the flow of bodily fluids into the toilet.

I used to actually wear shorts to work.  I worked every weekend, and kept odd work hours during the week.  I really did use every single sick day I accumulated, though I rarely ever wasted a sick day on actually being sick.  These days, I am thrilled when I can “dress down” by ditching the tie.  My hours are more reasonable, though I find myself working nights and weekends because I want to finish a task, not because I have to.  I couldn’t tell you the last time I took a sick day.

So now, as I nurse my wounds and aching muscles from the softball game tonight, I wonder what happened to my youth.  Would I turn back time and do it all over again?  Absolutely not.  I do miss some of the benefits of my younger years, but I’m happy with what my life has become.  Still, it would be nice to have the waistline I had ten years ago.  And maybe the Mustang, too……

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