16 July 2012

Unfortunate Side Effects

There was an incident recently that some people might find flattering, but I had the opposite reaction. An apparently incompetent grocery store clerk questioned my driver’s license. Didn’t believe it was real. That there was no way I was the person in the photo.

One of the things that simply floored me was that anyone could look at me and see anything but what I actually am now, the thing I see every day in the mirror:

An old man.

Old. Out of shape. Tired. Exhausted. All the time.

I’m an old man. It’s true. Who is that in the mirror? No grey hairs yet, though I can sense them. They’re coming. I know. They’re in the post, as the saying goes.

It wasn’t always this way. But kids do this to you. They literally suck the life out of you. It starts almost immediately, this transference of energy and power and vitality. Now there’s the two of them and so the soul-sucking has been even more amplified.

The wife and I stare at each other and wonder what happened. We used to be fun, right? We had energy and vivacity. We used to do stuff.

But then we had kids. And between a 3-and-a-half-year-old and a 4-month-old, I have nothing left. I’m prematurely old. The man in the mirror is no longer recognizable to me.

I need to get in shape. Because otherwise, they’re going to kill me. No, really. They’re going to kill me. Some people train for marathons or the Tough Mudder or whatever. I need to train in order to not drop dead just playing with my kids in the yard.

Kids keep you young. That’s a thing I’ve heard. I don’t know why anyone would ever say this. I don’t know what it means. Makes no sense to me. Because what they really do is make you old.

And it’s not just the energy or whatever. It’s their experience of the world. It’s watching the Doozer slide his fingers across the screen of my laptop and expecting some kind of result. It seems like a decently modern machine to me, but apparently it is already ancient. He picked this up from using his grandfather’s Kindle. Which I still don’t know how to work.

It’s our own fault, too. For instance, we don’t currently have a stereo. We have music on the computer and so the Doozer is of the opinion that’s where music comes from. I’m not sure he’s ever even seen a stereo. This is kind of wrong. We need to rectify this.

Then I look at the baby, the Doozer’s Little Brother, and think about the world he’ll grow up in. And it’s very different than the one I inhabited. Not so long ago.

Just watching them makes me tired. I want to sit down, I want to take a nap. Which is ironic, because they are children and yet, they are not sleeping. They are not taking a nap. Even though that is what children are meant to do, nap. Napping was invented for children. I think.

Both of them are just on, all the time. So open and full of curiosity. And wonder. Makes me feel more jaded and cynical, like I have been around forever, for too long, so nothing excites me anymore. As opposed to infectious, which I think it’s supposed to be.

Kids don’t keep you young. They are sent here to destroy you. Beware.

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