It’s Sunday evening at about 8:39pm and I’ve had it. It’s been a long weekend. I feel old today. My knee has been killing me the past couple of weeks and I can barely walk. I have pain in my hand from what the Orthopedist suspects is Tendonitis. I’m on weight watchers to help maintain my weight. So for the past two days, I’ve been wearing a knee brace and a splint to immobilize my thumb. I eat rice cakes and egg whites to avoid blowing up like a balloon. I look and feel like an AARP commercial. I’ve actually forgotten the point of this story a couple of times in the last three minutes and I’m not even two paragraphs into the blog. As a matter of fact, I was seriously debating whether or not to skip writing this week altogether and pick up next week with Out-Numbered #6. If I didn’t think my Mom would be crushed I would have succumb to the lethargy. But there is one really important thing that I felt compelled to write about and if I don’t do it this week, I’ll miss my window. Believe me it’s a very short window.
On Friday I attended my Twenty-year high school Reunion. Twenty freaking years. No wonder I feel old. Maybe it’s mostly mental, maybe I’m just a mess but either way it’s pretty daunting. How can so many years have gone by and I have so few memories of any of it. I’m serious. I remember more about my kid’s first six years than I do of my entire life. Why is that? Was I not paying attention to the world and people around me all that time? I don’t even really have that many pictures. I know my Mom has a bunch of pictures of me in her house but they are all from like the ages 6 months to 8 years old and then it pretty much stops. I probably have five thousand pictures of my two kids and one hundred DVD’s of everything ranging from birthday parties to toilet training. I feel like Annie Liebovitz and Martin Scorsese rolled into one. My past is such a blur. I don’t really remember too much before I met my wife. Weird.
Ya know what though? It kind of makes sense. When you’re growing up, there’s really not much to think about but yourself. I think I spent most of my adolescent life thinking about which girl wasn’t going to go out with me next or who would win in a fight, Freddy Kruger or Jason Voorhees (of course they made a damn movie about it eventually which I guess means that there was some kind of relevance to my idiotic thought process on some level). My point being, (please, please let there be a point somewhere in here.) people tend to spend a good portion of their childhood and adolescent lives in a mostly self-absorbed state. You go to school to fill your head with info to make yourself smarter, you play sports and participate in extra curricular activities to make yourself well rounded, you find a job so you can make yourself some more money to buy more stuff… for YOU. You really don’t have much time for anyone else but numero uno. When was the last time that happened?
Kids change everything! This is why time goes so fast now days. Back when we were kids, it seemed like time stood still. Classes took forever. Summers seemed to last an eternity. Even a kiss with a girl felt like a moment caught in time. But that’s because it was all about you. There was nothing else to preoccupy our time. Just the ME channel, 24/7. Now the kids steal the show. We take them places, we buy them things, and we spend every second talking about them. Jeez from the second we find out we’re going to have a baby, until they are one year old, we count their life by weeks and months. Oh, my wife is 12 weeks pregnant. My kid just turned 16 weeks today. My daughter is 8 months old. When have we ever had to keep track of something so closely before? When you have kids, every little milestone is a charted and documented event. She rolled over for the first time; she smiled at me for the first time or look who took their first poop on the potty… Before you know it, you wake up and two or three years have gone by and you feel like you haven’t done anything. For the first time in our lives it’s not just about us. To be honest, it’s not about us at all. It’s about the kids and rightfully so. Having kids makes it easy to go to work in the morning. There is incentive. We are parents now and we’re responsible for these little lives. They depend on us. We don’t pay attention to time the way we used to. I’m so wrapped up in the first six years of my oldest daughter’s life that I failed to realize that six years went by in mine. Now my youngest daughter will be two and I swear to God that I couldn’t remember if I was 37 or 38 the other day. The strangest thing about that was that I actually didn’t care. It didn’t matter.
My high school reunion was amazing. So many faces and so many names from the past came out for one memorable night. For the first time in a long time, I suspect most of my classmates had a night without the kids and without the spouses. It was a night where we could finally treat ourselves to a little self-absorption for a change. Oddly enough all those memories that had escaped me, somehow crept back in for a night. Some memories were more specific than others and some were just feelings that I hadn’t felt in ages. On Friday I forgot about my bum knee and my sore thumb. I drank Pabst Blue Ribbon from a can and listened to 80’s metal with my buddies and talked to people I hadn’t thought about in 10 years or more. I guess it’s all par for the course. I guess it’s just the cycle of life.
I did realize one amazing thing though. I realized no matter how shitty my knee feels and how many rice cakes I eat now in my thirties, that all of my experiences and all of my memories that seem so tucked away, are a huge part of the man I am today. My wife and daughters are most definitely helping me evolve into the man that I will be tomorrow. It’s good to have a family. It’s good to have kids to teach and a wife to learn from and it’s good to be Out-Numbered…