Growing up with an old father makes a kid different in some ways.
I noticed a few years ago that I had something in common with almost all of my close male friends: We were products of older dads, usually ones who had married younger (in some cases much younger) women.
I can almost perceive it when I meet a man these days. “Oh, you too?” About half the time I’m right.
I’ve been around long enough to have noticed the effects of having an old dad. I admit that for the first part of my life it seemed like it was mainly a detriment:
- Having to always explain at McDonald’s playland that he’s your dad and not your grandpa.
- If he actually IS old enough to be your grandpa (as mine was), chances are he’s from a totally different generation that really won’t understand yours at all. That can hold one back in adolescence.
- Old dads likely aren’t going to be as active in the ball-throwing or wrestling areas, either. You grow up thinking that there’s a certain fragility in men of stature, and that they need to nap a lot.
- They’re generally closer to checking out than younger dads, and that sense of impending loss can cast a certain elegiac pall over life.
So for the first part of my life I really thought I had been royally screwed.
Now, however, that’s changing.
I’m now only about eight years younger than my dad was when I was born, and it’s as though I’ve grown into what I gathered from him as a role model. Life is finally resembling what my father had led me to expect it would be.
Namely, a cynical den of merciless wolves ready to shred one to bits and/or a sickness unto death.
Just kidding. Hehe.
Really, it isn’t so bad:
There’s a benefit in not having an illustrious bloom of raucous youth to grasp at desperately, fearing that when it slips away one will be left with nothing.
There are benefits to peaking later rather than earlier, but there’s probably the greatest benefit in not peaking at all–but rather just experiencing the slow growth of capability, wisdom, and skill through the years.
There’s a certain comfort in feeling one’s body age to match the soul and mind–for I am pretty confident I was about 42 or so when I was born.
There’s a certain panache that comes from being able to say “I don’t really care about what’s cool these days” and really mean it.
There’s a pleasure in being able to let go of expectations of what youth and vitality “should” be like.
There’s a pleasure in letting go of the “should” and just living.
Everything in the fullness of time.