getting older

Marty Digs: 35 is the new (insert desirable younger age here)

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Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to my favorite week of the year – the start of March Madness, St. Patrick’s Day, and my birthday (the 19th). I told my mom last night that if this happened when I didn’t have a child, responsibilities, a mortgage, and graduate school, I would have probably exploded into a fiery ball of beer, blarney, buffalo wings, and brackets. But alas, I am turning 35 years old, and indeed have a child, responsibilities, a mortgage, and graduate school. If I were to explode this year, it would be full of stress, bills, research papers, and a trace amount of beer and buffalo wings.

This is a milestone age of sorts, and not a fun one like 18 or 21. On one hand, I am not turning 40 and being called over-the-hill yet, but I am also not turning 30 and having a party thrown for me where I wake up in my boxers having no idea where I am. I guess I can take solace in the fact that I am in the middle of my 30’s, but am frustrated that my friend Dr. Emmett Brown has not perfected his DeLorean time machine yet. And it’s not so much that I am upset about turning 35, it’s more like I can’t believe it. For Christ’s sake, I am still not exactly sure what I want to be when I grow up!

I work at a college, and that can serve as both a gift and a curse. It is very exciting for me to walk onto a college campus every day – a million times better than working in some faceless corporate park. I can honestly say I have never dreaded work since I have been here at Drexel. But at the same time, it can be a bit depressing when my age is reminded to me. Like when playing pickup basketball in our campus athletic center, I am trying to complete with kids who were born when I was a scrappy and pimply high school Junior Varsity athlete.       

The thing is, I still feel young. And I’d like to think that I still look young. According to my mom, I dress like a 16 year old boy. That’s probably because I do – I have a huge disdain for collared shirts, and I shop at surf and skateboard stores for my clothes. I guess I act young too, because I still love going to concerts and especially since I am planning on trying to skateboard again once I lose 30 pounds. I definitely don’t want Jack to grow up too quickly, but I would be lying if I said I can’t wait until I can play catch with him, shoot hoops with him, and beat his ass in Madden 2023 on Playstation 6.   

I have never been in a rush to grow up, and can be my own worst enemy in acting grown up. But the entertainment world and my parents are not helping the cause much either. My two favorite bands from high school and college, Urge Overkill and Buffalo Tom, are putting out albums and touring this year. And my parents, who have always lovingly referred to me as their very own Peter Pan, bought me the Christmas gift that every boy dreams of – a shiny new bicycle. It was the best Christmas morning since 1985 when I got a boogie board, a Tyco Turbo Hopper, and Laser Tag.

I do realize that my age is advancing, and as I am getting older, the one thing I truly cherish are the friends I have. I am lucky enough to say that my closest group of friends has been the same since I was in pre-school. The great thing is, they all have their own wonderfully bizarre links to childhood. Since they are all professional gentleman, so with respect to them I am not going to name names here. But one owns a BB gun and has a Lee Harvey Oswald-esque level of accuracy with it, one has a pet turtle with one eye who he has owned since age 9, one has a motorized Go-Cart and quad bike, and one makes music videos of his three year old son. (Oh, wait, that’s me)

I also think I am getting wiser, or maybe I should call it more jaded – enough where I to see right through people. Including myself, when I went through the period where I read Bukowski and frequented art house films. I wasn’t trying to get laid or anything doing that stuff, I guess it was my half-assed attempt at seeming cultured. I try my hardest not to sound like some grumpy old man, saying everything used to be better. Because I think there is a ton of great music out there. And while I do think rap and hip hop was better in the early 90’s, I don’t dare say it. It just seems too ridiculous for me to make any claims like that since my closest brush with “street-cred” was working at an Enterprise Rent-A-Car office on the border of Camden and Pennsauken.

 Ben Folds once sang “everybody knows, it sucks to grow up”, and as much as I used to agree with that, I don’t think it’s so bad anymore. I am looking forward to watching Jack grow up, growing old with Cailin, and seeing where the journey of life takes me. And it all starts this week, with a celebration of my life, college basketball, and St. Patrick’s Day where not only do we Irish embrace the stereotype as wild drinkers, we revel in it!

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