The Baseball Bat

At some point in every man's life, if he lives long enough, he is hit with a baseball bat. Figuratively. Sometimes literally, but that's a different topic.

I'm still not sure what to call this bat. It could be 'getting old' or 'going bald' or 'reality' or... well, you'll see what I'm talking about.

There are three ways that men deal with this baseball bat.
1) Ignore it. "Nah. That wasn't a baseball bat that just hit me." Reacting this way doesn't make it hurt any less. It just guarantees they'll get hit again. And again. And again. Until they finally accept the fact they were just hit. Then the hits stop.
2) Over react (Google "Define: Midlife crisis").
3) Accept it. "Ouch! What the...? Why did I have to get hit with a baseball bat? Man! that hurts!" And then you move on.

Different ways I've been hit with the bat:
A- Me: "Hmmm. My pants are too tight. Musta dried them too long."
B- Me: "Ouch. My back hurts ... again. What did I do yesterday? Oh. Nothing."
C- Me: "Not really. I just want to go to sleep tonight."
D- Wife: "Hey, you know I was serious about your hair thinning out up there, right?"
E- Barber: "I can only do so much with what I have to work with."
F- Work Associate 15 years older than I: "James is too young to know about things like that. He's not old like us."
G- My kids: "Dad. You're Old."
H- Me to my wife: "Yeah, we were dating then, but we're more than twice as old as we were then."
I- Me: "When did looking at my ear hair become part of personal grooming?!?"

I guess in reality, I've been living the #1 reaction from above until the last two days. During the last 24 hour, examples D, E, F, and H all happened to me. And then, finally, I said, "Wow, that was a baseball bat that hit me."

The advantage for people who don't dive headfirst into an early midlife crisis is that we get to stay married, don't incur new debt for a car, and get to (and this is the most important) grow up. I know what you may be thinking, "Seth, you're 35, you have 4 kids, spent 10 years in the Army and have a career with a little bit of responsibility. Of course you're grown up." or may you're thinking, "Well, it's about time!" Either way the truth is that the way I see myself is never the way others see me. I look in the mirror and I still see the 17 year old captain of the wrestling team. I don't think anyone else has seen that when they look at me for the last 18 years.

I realized when I was whining about the fact that I don't want to have the beginnings of a bald spot that I'm not 17 anymore. Shocker, I know. But realizing that my body is getting a little... a lot older also frees me to finally see myself as something other than a kid. When you see yourself as a kid, you act like a kid. When you see yourself as a man, you act like a man.

So, because of that, I welcome the receding hairline, the very slight-only-my-wife-knows-its-there bald spot, the extra weight around my waist, and the hair where it wasn't before. Don't get me wrong. I have a razor and know how to use it. I'm not accepting the physical changes without a fight. But I am accepting the facts. I accept that I'm a man and am free to act as such.

Oh. one more thing. The grey hair. I accept that too. Begrudgingly.

1 comment:

cbogie said...

Re: the gray hair - I told myself that gray hair wouldn't bother me - until I got it. Maybe it was how it was discovered - my loving husband pointed out my first gray hairs when I was 7 months pregnant with our daughter - while we were at a party!!

Kevin and I have now been together longer than we've not - no turning back now!

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I appreciate insights by you Owens!