Good and Gone
Young seemed like yesterday. It wasn't. We all stumble past that awkward age of not being young anymore but being far from old. I'm smack in the middle of it. Unsure of my exact place, I do my best to have some grace...I miss the mark on occasion, but a guy tries. I watch friends falling apart. I take my fair share of shots...the grey hair...the knee injury that just doesn't heal...the one step too slow...all of it. The funny truth is, however, I've never felt more vibrant. I've never felt more alive and capable than I do right now. Sure, I felt pretty bombproof hanging with the fellas back in the day, but bombproof is different from vibrant. Much different. I was probably better looking, and I was certainly in better shape, but as we age we learn (or we hope that we learn) that those are the most fleeting of things, and that truthfully, grace is all that really matters. I can't run as fast as I used to but here's the thing...no one is chasing me. There are no bears. Did I really look better back then, sans grey and lean and a full pant size smaller? Maybe, or maybe not. I'd rather see my own face in a photo now than I would have then. I had no confidence, or not enough. I felt like a branch being blown in every direction by the wildest wind. Now I feel more like the trunk of that tree...sturdy and going nowhere other than where I've planted my roots.
Did I lose something with age? Maybe, but it feels more like I've found myself...older, sure, but a more honest version of that same guy...and I like him a lot more. I have a house full of girls that make me feel like the most vibrant man on the planet, and friends who fill me with confidence in a simple conversation, or a look, with an overdo hug, or a kind word...both men and women...some of them make me feel infinitely better than anyone did when I was young. These days the grey doesn't hurt me, the confidence isn't bravado, it's real, the perspective is polished, and I might not be quite as lean but I'm sure as hell a lot more man, and it has nothing to do with the bigger waist size. I don't know what my friends would say but I'll take this older version of me, the one with three girls waiting at home for me, with friends that love me, and the feeling that whoever that young guy was, he can stay good and gone.