January 28, 2009

Older, Waiting for Wiser

I was flipping through my Flickr account the other day and I noticed something - when I started this whole blogging gig, what, six years ago, I looked young. At least younger than I do today. Instead of blaming the obvious - republican midgets on a quest for world domination - I attribute the aging thing to a stressful job, kids, the time I devote to fighting crime under my superhero alter-ego, and, well, the inevitable passage of time. See for yourself - me, then and now.

This discovery is very coincidental. And those coincidences are twofold. 1) While I was getting my hair cut last week, the stylist decided it was time to give me a hard time, honestly pointing out it's amazing how gray your hair turned in the last five weeks, really amazing. And she wasn't just giving me a hard time. She was absolutely right. The piles of hair on the floor? Gray. 2) Several months ago, I had to take a life insurance physical. They sent the results of my blood tests back and while most things looked normal to my highly medically-trained eyes, something jumped out at me - my cholesterol was absolutely sky high. I have a family history of high cholesterol - it's like we're trying to set a record or something - so it wasn't any great shock, but it was high enough to have me seriously considering entering rehab to rid myself of my Ben & Jerry's habit. I went to the doctor instead. On Monday that's where I found myself. An hour later, I found myself wandering through the grocery store, all gray-haired, clutching a list of supplements I was told would help in one hand and a referral for a vasectomy in the other (why I felt the need to bring that into the grocery store, I'll never know). While doing so, I realized several things:

- I'm fucking old. Okay, okay, I know there are a few of you out there with some years on me but don't begrudge me my momentary frustration with getting older. My hair is turning gray, I grow a gray beard and I'm turning into one of those people who has so many pills to take to keep himself from falling apart that he has one of those seven day pill containers. Next I'm going to be chasing kids off my lawn with a cane and will soon earn the neighborhood moniker Crazy Cactus Man.

- I'm a little concerned about the future of my balls. Don't get me wrong - we're done having kids. Kids are awesome and I wouldn't trade mine for all the beer in the world but, still, we're done. And I know that Beth went through some pretty horrid stuff to have them. I mean, first carrying around a little (then not so little) parasite for nine months then actually having it removed from her body. That's rough. I get that. But, come on, these are my balls we're talking about.

- Fish oil, baby aspirin, niacin - or any combination thereof - make you fart.

Posted by Chris at January 28, 2009 6:30 AM

I don't know. I look at the pics and I don't see the aging. I notice a change in the lighting and themes of the poses. Maybe its not so much the subject of the picture but the mood you are setting it in. Maybe your taste in photography is just maturing.

Good job on trying to get that cholesterol in check. Too many guys your age end up with stents (sp?) in their hearts. Watch that baby aspirin though. My understanding is that going on and going off of it can be dangerous. Make sure the doc is watching it.

Posted by: Jon (was) in Michigan at January 28, 2009 7:35 AM

shut your mouth. you dont look old.
here's the thing-men when they get older-they get distinguished and handsome(er? handsomer? i dunno..anyways) men are hot when they are older. women? not so much. chicks dig men with gray hair. ya dont hear men talkin all "oOooh she looks all sexy sexy with that gray hair!" yeah no. not so much. men yes. women no.

you dont look old.

and for fucks sake! i'm tellin' ya...if you spew shit that sounds like "gray pubes" i'm pukin on my keyboard.

Posted by: kimmyk at January 28, 2009 7:56 AM

I don't see the aging either. You seem more serious now though.

If it makes you feel better, I am almost complete grey now. The bright side to the grey is that at least you have hair.

Make sure you wear white tube socks with black slippers when you chase the kids off your lawn.

Posted by: Maria at January 28, 2009 8:06 AM

Two items to have in your house:
1) 1-Minute Oatmeal: it'll bring your cholesteral down amazingly well;
2) Bag of frozen peas: because you'll want to keep them applied to your privates when you get the "snip-snip" done. My husband's advice to you: get it done on a Friday so you can spend two days on the couch!

Posted by: NancyJak at January 28, 2009 8:09 AM

Yes! Listen to nancyjak - she's right about the frozen peas. My husband would tell you its not as bad as you think it will be. Couldn't be as bad as childbirth, dude.

You need to smile in the other pics. But yes, getting older sucks.

Posted by: Debbie at January 28, 2009 8:29 AM

Ugh, I started noticing a few greys here and there about 6 months ago. Now? I dye my hair every month with a semi-permanent dye so I don't have to see them or think about it. It's one of my few concessions to vanity and I don't mind a bit.

The vasectomy - pointless to tell you not to worry, because I have never known a man to not be concerned when someone's messing with him south of the border - but as long as you've got a good doc, you'll be fine. Funny story, in our neck of the woods the Michigan/Michigan State rivalry is a huge thing. Me and my hubs are Michigan fans. His urologist? A State fan. So in the midst of the procedure, doc says to hubby: "I'll do anything I can to prevent another generation of Michigan fans in the world." Hubs said he just zipped his lip and kept quiet - didn't feel the need to antagonize the doc at that moment. (Moral: Don't talk sports and you should be fine).

Posted by: Sarah at January 28, 2009 8:30 AM

First, make sure you go to a good doctor for the Vas. Hubby had a friend who got a bargain snip, and it wasn't pretty. Talk about elephantitis of the nads! Yikes!

Okay now the motherly part.

There there little cactus. It's okay. I know getting older sucks, and the gray hair, well, I'm sure all of mine is gray, but I dye it so no one but me and my hair dresser knows for sure.

We all get old, my friend. But it beats the hell out of the alternative!

Sending you hugs today.

Posted by: Maribeth at January 28, 2009 8:38 AM

Sorry to say that when you get old everything makes you fart. Trust me, I know. (I agree on the forzen peas, by the way. But get at least 2 bags so you always have 1 that is frozen. And don't eat them afterward. They'll really make you fart).

Posted by: Beth Anne at January 28, 2009 8:39 AM

We're the same age, you and I. I haven't had a physical since my exit from the military 3 years ago and everything seemed fine then, but I'm still pretty 'blah' on the whole thing, so despite my being surrounded by doctors, I don't bother. I definitely should, though, because we also share a genetic predisposition for high cholesterol.

On top of this, I suppose it was about a year ago that a little area on the back of my dome started to self-prune. I'm also getting gray around the edges. The gym and running hurt more now. Commercials for boner pills and prostate pills no longer garner a chuckle like they used to; they piss me off. I don't mind getting old, but I don't want to constantly reminded of the price during TV time-outs in football and/or basketball games.

Posted by: You can call me, 'Sir' at January 28, 2009 9:01 AM

My husband had it done 2 years ago and he would tell you it was honestly not bad at all. Sore for a couple of days but nothing unbearable. Your balls will be just fine, dear. :) (Not sure how the hubby would feel about me telling you that, but whatevs!)

Posted by: Shannon at January 28, 2009 9:02 AM

I've always said that I didn't care if my hair turned purple as I got older, so long as it stuck around. At this point in my "self pruning" stage (love that, Sir!), I'd love to gray or purple or any frickin' color other than "clear".

Posted by: J at January 28, 2009 9:27 AM

You just need to change your outlook :) Think of it this way, not only is getting older better than the alternative, we age like fine wine: we get better with time!

Live for today, and the rest all falls into place!

Posted by: 3jaysmom at January 28, 2009 9:33 AM

1. When I was your age my wife already had custody of my balls. She lets me borrow them if I want an occasional night out with the guys.

2. Ben and Jerry both eat truckloads of ice cream and they're not dead.

3. Niacin gives you hot flashes -- a really dumb way to get in touch with your feminine side.

4. LIPITOR works. My cholesterol is in the 125 range. Some of the lab reports actually flag it as BELOW NORMAL.

5. But you still have to exercise.

6. Skinny people die too.

7. And as for the hair, soon you'll be able to say the same thing I just posted on my Facebook page. I AM A GRAY AMERICAN.


Posted by: Marshall at January 28, 2009 9:44 AM

sorry, just can't get past seeing a NIKON camera strap. (hehehe)

Posted by: Holly at January 28, 2009 9:46 AM

the mirena iud has allowed my husband to keep his manhood. for now.
i know. i'm totally the best wife!

Posted by: ali at January 28, 2009 10:14 AM

I just ignore the aging. I'd cry if I didn't. Last time I went to my hairdresser - she said I had female pattern baldness starting. And I'm all like WTF? Just don't TELL me and I'll be okay.

Posted by: k8 at January 28, 2009 10:21 AM

Yeah, I really feel ya on this one. My goatee is about 1/4 grey now and although the wife thinks it's "cute", I'm not so sure. You look good still.

Our screen saver is a slideshow of all of our digital pictures and whenever one comes up from 5 years ago (first kid is born) I laugh at how young I look. Dude, 5 years.

Anyway, I'm fortunate to not have to take meds yet but it's only a matter of time. I will say that remaining active in running and whatnot has kept my body from ballooning to that typical "man weight" that so many of us get when we cross the 3-0 mark.

Posted by: Brad at January 28, 2009 10:30 AM

Your balls will be fine.

I didn't want to get it done either, and yeah, I was in a bit of pain for awhile (plus my asshole doc was a little tug happy that day, cripes man, be gentle, you've got a set too!), but it's worth it.

Plus it's a great excuse to lay around on the couch like a bum for a few days, guilting the wife into bringing you snacks and drinks while watching tube or playing video games.

Just be sure that the little ones don't step on one of your soon-to-be-tender bits. YOW!

Posted by: Jase at January 28, 2009 10:41 AM

I turned 40 last week. I have no sympathy for you. I really don't think that you look much older any way. Just remember---the hair goes first, the brain goes next. Be prepared to write everything down. When we start to see to-do lists on your blog, I'll know it happened. Tee-hee.

Posted by: Christy at January 28, 2009 10:51 AM

It's the fish oil. I used to have to take that with flaxseed oil for my dry eyes. That combined with other vitamins bloats me up like a Macy's parade balloon. Now I only have chewable calcium with breakfast and lunch, and chewable kid's vitamin with dinner. They're mild enough to not frak with my stomach. Heh.

Posted by: oakley at January 28, 2009 11:11 AM

I wouldn't take fish oil. As a veg, I sought out flaxseed oil instead. It doesn't stink like an Alaskan fishing vessel and your farts will smell of grains instead of rotting salmon. As for the big V, well.....my deal with the hubs is that so long as I don't want my tubes tied (and I don't), he doesn't have to get snipped. Besides, we're all getting a little too old to conceive of anything besides how fricking old we are.

Posted by: rebecca at January 28, 2009 11:40 AM

Yes, you're old -- 6 years older, to be exact. And let's face it, those 6 years have been VERY FULL, no? Perhaps you can look at it as being more distinguished? Wiser? Someone who knows his shit?

But then again, you're a 12-year-old at heart, and that's what matters! And that? Is what lets you have FUN with your new-found fart concoction!!! Let 'em rrrriiiiippp!!! ;o)

Posted by: ironic1 at January 28, 2009 11:43 AM

Ha ... totally GET this. My husband and I were in the office yesterday for a scheduled vasectomy and they rescheduled us AGAIN. We've been trying to get it done since last Sept. He gets all prepped for it and then we go and they move us again for some unforeseen reason. He finally said last night ... maybe we're NOT done. To which I rolled in laughter because, hello ... our son is 14 in March ... we're nearing the home stretch and working on sending him to college ... we certainly don't want to start ALL over again.

Posted by: Kristy - Where's My Damn Answer at January 28, 2009 12:00 PM

You do look older. It is the face that you get from a few things:
1. Responsibility: you have spent the last six years during the day making sure that you work hard enough and smart enough to keep anywhere from two to three other humans alive with nothing but your wits alone. Your evenings are spent making sure that those humans do not eat, inhale, or otherwise internalize poisons, chokeable items, each other, and any other host of everyday items that now in the hands of a skilled child are weapons of war.

2. Lack of sleep: I've been reading this blog for a couple of years, and one constant has been lack of sleep. Drive your car at a hundred miles per hour every single day for a couple of years. How is it sounding? That is what you do to your body / mind when you grind away without enough sleep. Not for nothing, you've been busy, but it still takes the toll.

3. Angst: Let's face it, the last six years haven't exactly been the peachy, bright future-is-a-comin 90's ( oh early to mid nineties, I miss you so ). It's been the "Let's see which dystopian future nightmare gets us first", which while probably being hyped a bit, still has some merit to it ( take your pick: Orwellian police state, post global economic collapse free zone, post global environmental collapse free for all, or any combination of the above... ).

4. Gravity: We are stuck in the gravity well of a planet after all. Skin elasticity has it's limits.

But, on the bright side, it is also that cool face that you get when you've got a little street cred under your belt. The younger you, all smiley and idealistic. Poor sucker never saw it coming. Older you, intense and weathered. That's the kind of face that tells the world, step aside, Important things coming through ( even though your just headed to the bathroom ).

And best of luck with your balls.


Posted by: metawizard at January 28, 2009 12:05 PM

It's the second kid that does it to you. The lack of sleep from one is one thing, but by the second time your body starts to freak out a bit.

I'm almost 29 and I've been getting gray hair since after the second kid. The third should kill me. ;)

Posted by: Issa at January 28, 2009 12:21 PM

Maybe it's just me, but I don't think you look appreciably different. Also, I've heard that about the fish oil. You'll also want to watch out for the fishy burps.

Posted by: Dawn at January 28, 2009 12:49 PM

Ok I think you are HOTT. Not little hott but HOTT. Hell youll be HOTT at 50. Ok shut up Cheryl. When ya getting snipped? Curious to that as my hubby wants to do the same.
XOXO as always-
Cheryl (who is suckingly snow bound in MO)

Posted by: cheryl at January 28, 2009 12:55 PM

Get the vasectomy. You'll be fine. I'm about 10 years older than you. I have the 7-day pill tray with the high cholesterol and all that. And I looked damn fine in my 20's too. Those were the days. But no matter...vasectomy...on a Friday...and then let the fun begin!

Posted by: James Proffitt at January 28, 2009 12:55 PM

Good to hear you are trying the supplement route. I take Standard Process supplements I had high cholesterol, (high Triglycerides) and my doctor wanted to put me on a statin, which I do not like the side effects that come with that and to be honest don't like taking any prescription meds. So I got the supplements recommended by my nutrition lady and in 3 months I lowered my triglycerides by 160+ points.

Posted by: Dee at January 28, 2009 1:02 PM

I hear ya, my friend. I'm reding from the couch while I elevate my bum knee and hope that my bad shoulder holds out for work tomorrow.

Posted by: jess at January 28, 2009 1:15 PM

First, you do not look old. Second, if you are getting old, then so am I, and having just turned 28 today, I refuse to accept that idea.

Now what is that green thing in the bottom "then" picture?

Posted by: Debra at January 28, 2009 2:12 PM

If anything, I think it's just the pic in top right where you've wrinkled your forehead - other than that I'm not sure that you look that much older.

Good anti-aging cream eh?


Posted by: Daisy at January 28, 2009 2:45 PM

My sister is one year older than me. When we were 10 and 11 respectfully we would sit with our mother, aunt, grandma and listen to them speak about the cost and quality of the supermarket meats in the area. We deemed meat quality talk to be that of OLD people.

You never mentioned meat (balls were close but you didnt' call them meatballs!!) so you are not yet old....so says the sister pact.

Incidentally I told my sister I was having a hizouse party for the superbowl and she wrote back.. "What is a hizouse?" I deemed her meatless question to be OLD.

You are NOT old if you know what hizouse is and you're not discussing the meat you eat.

Posted by: Kristy at January 28, 2009 3:16 PM

First: Gray hair on men = distinguished. Gray hair on women? Wicked witch from Hansel and Gretel.

Second: High cholesterol- really scary but will plunge if refined carbs are eliminated from diet. Put down the ice cream scoop! And unfortunately, it's Michelob Ultra Light for you mister.

Third: The boys. Again, really scary but actually minor discomfort, office visit and over in less than an hour. Amazing how, umm...uninhibited one might be when chance of pregnancy is zero. Also, very good reason to consume Ben and Jerry's without guilt.

Posted by: Wack-a-do at January 28, 2009 4:12 PM

You can be a silver fox now ;)

Posted by: Heather at January 28, 2009 4:30 PM

Oh, I hear you, dude. Although I will say that there isn't actually as much difference in the then & now pictures as you think. I believe it's the pictures you chose -- you're totally young! What you need to NOT do is look at pictures of you when you graduated high school. This summer, I ran into a friend from high school; I hadn't seen her since we graduated in 1990. Hoo boy she looks a LOT older now. And then when I really thought about it, I suppose so. It has been 18 years, after all. It sure doesn't seem that long.

I'm 36 now, so I've got a few years on you, but it did seem to me as though the decline was sudden. I also had the experience recently of looking at the floor at the hairdressers and wondering where all the grey hair came from. And my memory - oy...nothing like it used to be. Nothing. Some days it seems as though I'm lucky that I remember my own name. I can blame part of that on the kids, but not all of it.

My point (long and rambling though it is) is that you're not alone. I'm right there in the pharmacy with you, grey-haired and clutching supplements.

Posted by: Carmen at January 28, 2009 4:58 PM

1) old or not, still totally hott ;)

2) I've yet to see evidence of this gray beard you speak of!

3) I feel ya, though you have a few years on me, I too am quite frustrated w/ this whole getting older thang.

4) I'll say it again, balls? waaay overrated!

Posted by: Kris at January 28, 2009 5:29 PM

Dude. Seriously. *head shaking* Not old. I'm not seeing it in the photos. You may have some gray. I can't see that, either. But... That's why we have the children. To blame them. I'm on board with whoever talked about the oatmeal. BIG oatmeal proponent. But if you have the genetics for high cholesterol? Then you definitely have to watch it. My own physical check of these numbers is coming up. I've got the genes, too. Welcome to life, man.

Posted by: Keri at January 28, 2009 5:46 PM

Six years will do that to you.

Posted by: Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah at January 28, 2009 7:41 PM

The F in fart is for fish oil. Try the burpless kind...it really does cut down the farting and burping. I'm old too, so I know.

Posted by: jaycie at January 28, 2009 9:39 PM

You don't look any different to me. But then again, I think I'm actually older then you, or maybe the very same age, at the least.

Posted by: Scatteredmom at January 28, 2009 11:00 PM

Why does the "old" feeling have to creep up all of the sudden? Ugh! Despite supplements, bloodwork, etc., age is nature's best mind game. Give the quasi-mid-life crisis its due processing and then go about your life...because really, you know you still rock. (that's what I tell myself, anyway)

As a female, I know nothing about a vasectomy BUT my bro-in-law had one and he said it was no big deal. Minor discomfort but nothing terrible. Just don't let your kids jump on you the day after- like his daughter did!

ALSO, don't know if this will be a consolation exactly but at least the vasectomy is a one time process. I just turned 35 so now I have to have a freakin' mammogram every 2 years or something absurd. From what I hear, they basically crush your boobs and the pain is awful. SO looking forward to that. I mean, it's all in the name of good health but seriously, can't they come up with something better?

Posted by: Jane in Pa at January 29, 2009 12:02 AM

So its the fish oil that's been making me so melodious these last few weeks. And here I'd put it down to the double fiber bread my wife's been buying.

Don't worry about getting old. aging is inevitable but growing up isn't. I'll always be a punk in my mind even when I'm in my 60's.

Posted by: Erik at January 29, 2009 1:24 AM

I don't really see the aging. But is that top left pic you in Times Square in front of Virgin Megastore?

Also, tell your balls the vasectomy is necessary for the continuation of your sex life. It's not a big deal. Your balls should get...er...some balls.


Posted by: jessica at January 29, 2009 10:42 AM

Y'know, I think it's okay to have momentary periods of grief about one's age, whether that age is 31, 43, 65 or 106. For some odd reason, I myself am having a hard time wth 31. 30 was no problem. This coming birthday is making me cringe. I have no physical reason for it . . . weird.

I know, it's all in my head.

Posted by: kate at January 29, 2009 12:44 PM

Bryan just started getting gray too. Told you you were twins.

Posted by: Aimee Greeblemonkey at January 30, 2009 6:59 PM

You are NOT old. And you look even better now than you did 6 years ago. Seriously. I say this in the most innocent, not-at-all inappropriate way at all.

Posted by: La Petite Belle at January 31, 2009 7:06 PM

You still look AWESOME! :)

And now I wonder how long I've been reading your blog... I think it must be at least 5 years or so!

Posted by: Nadine at February 4, 2009 7:29 AM