Our family is coming up on the one-year birthday celebration of our youngest, Evelyn. Last April, as we sat in our room in the Labor & Delivery section of the hospital, I caught myself staring out the window – already knowing that this would more than likely be the last time that I was experiencing the beginning of the fatherhood journey. Having just turned 42, I was running the numbers through my head. I looked over at my beautiful wife as she was being hooked up to the heart monitor. I wasn’t necessarily expecting a positive or negative response from her, but nonetheless, felt compelled to ask if she realized that I would be 60 years old at our soon-to-be-born baby’s high school graduation.
As a red Porsche drove by on the street below, I pictured myself inside of it. The top was down. A few tassels of long gray hair blowing in the wind (I see Fabio as my hair insp, obviously), my flacid triceps exposed in a shirt that I had cut the sleeves from, boat shorts and flip-flops. No, I wasn’t auditioning for a Viagra commercial, simply seeing myself in a ‘mid-life crisis’ setting. But what is mid-life these days? Recent data supports the idea that kids born in this era have a 50% chance of living until 104. I can’t even fathom my quality of life at that age…
Isn’t Age Just a Number?
As I waited for her reply to my numerical observation, I attempted to lunge myself up and out of the chair, but found myself stuck in this vintage reclining behemoth. Let’s be honest, when I say vintage, I really mean that it was an absolute piece of shit. My guess is that it was broken long before a million expectant father’s asses had blessed it with their warmth and nervous flatulence. Its’ functionality was questionable, but it still served it’s purpose. Ironically, it was there to support me as I was having trouble supporting myself.
Living a Metaphor
I was fully reclined and as the nurse re-entered the room, I found myself flailing like a fish that had just been pulled onto the deck of the boat. This damn chair was unrelenting. It was as if it was trying to break my spirit. I refused to allow this hunk of metal, soiled foam and torn vinyl break my spirit. While taking a deep breath, I thought about how I was about to allow a 3-minute struggle with a piece of furniture determine the next few hours of my day. I reminded myself that life isn’t always a sprint, but rather a marathon.
As my wife’s heart rate accelerated due to laughter, I took a minute, smiled and found a way to contort and slither from the confines of the chair with our delivery team watching in laughter.
I made some asinine comment about how they needed to get rid of the clunker. I was talking about the chair–the irony is they probably thought I was talking about myself.
If you think about it, many of us take old things and throw them away. We see them as clutter and replace them with newer models. (NOTE TO MY CHILDREN: IF YOU EVER DO THIS TO ME, I’LL FIND YOU AND HURT YOU). But the reality is that mileage = experience. One of the quickest way for those younger than us to grow and evolve is to listen to the successes and failures of the generations that came before us.
And while I may not be as spry as I once was, I’m young at heart. I’m able to forget about the stigma attached to that POS chair as it tried to hold me down – and find time to smile and enjoy everything life is throwing at me.
Age is relative. It’s the heart and mind that counts.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a sponsored post on behalf of AARP and their #DadsDisruptAging campaign, however, the struggles with hospital recliners remain all mine. For more information on AARP, please visit them HERE, on Twitter or Instagram!