I was in Starbucks trying to write some thoughts down for this week’s episode and clear my head. I started this conversation with a Jamaican business man I met in there that took me a different path. He was also in the coffee joint contemplating life, his life. He said he had turned fifty this year and was starting to think in terms of how much time he had left? He didn’t want to admit he was a having a midlife crisis and asked me what I thought.
I turned fifty this year too and listened to him vent some stuff I have been thinking. Have you starting to read the Obituaries in the paper? Starting to lose people you grew up with? You worried about the roads not taken? You bummed that life holds no more surprises? Got regrets?
We went back to when we were the young guys. Remember when Atari launched its first video game. We were the geeks then. Remember Commodore 64? How about when IBM PC were available for the first time? I had to take out a loan to buy a used IBM with a monochrome monitor, 5 ¼ “floppy disc, what? And then I got a 2800 baud modem. Thought we were the stuff didn’t we? I said we should be proud we survived to live this long and not bummed out.
He used some words to describe how he felt at times like “stuck, “confused,” or just “lost.” He said he was a hard charging, rough and tough guy that is starting to questions things in which he once believed — marriage, work, friendships.
He made me think of the guys I know my age or older that didn’t just start shooting. Folks that remember that in the gun world, there were BBSs’ bulletin boards, like the Paul Revere Network run by Leroy Pyle. Trainers like Charles Taylor, Jim Cirillo, Masaad Ayoob, John Farnum, Jeff Cooper were the names we used to gush over.
If you are an old gun slinger, you might be going through a mid-life crisis. How you handle it matters to me. You can go out and fight it, pissed off at the world, take your place in the balcony like the old guys in the Muppets. No shortage of curmudgeons in the forums. Or you can embrace it, celebrate it. Each man’s journey is unique, shaped by his history and his hopes, his relationships.
You don’t have to go buy a muscle car or think you need to get a younger wife. If you are blessed to have one – believe me, “it’s cheaper to keep her.” It’s easier on your blood pressure and a blessing if you take inventory on what you got. Older women got some plusses, and if you don’t know, you can contact me offline and I will fill you in.
Like I told the Jamaican brother, I think it is normal for guys our age or older we start to wonder does my life matter. Our goal is to come through middle life as better men. Life is a journey. It’s one of those clichés I think are true. Yes, we will be a bit slower out the gate but smooth is still fast. And if you take it from your brother from another mother, you can be wiser, calmer, stronger of spirit, and even more attractive to women of all ages.
Bob Marley had a song called Redemption that took a line from Marcus Garvey that said:
We are going to emancipate ourselves from mental slavery because whilst others might free the body, none but ourselves can free the mind. Mind is your only ruler, sovereign. The man who is not able to develop and use his mind is bound to be the slave of the other man who uses his mind. Marcus Garvey
What I am trying to say is, it’s not over Holmes. If you don’t get Facebook, no biggie. If you don’t Tweet, no biggie. If you still prefer face to face conversations than text messages, no biggie. Its ok. If your last video game was Zelda, or Mario Brothers, it’s all good.
To all the old guys listening, hang in there and don’t get pissed off or try to hide your age. If you are old guy like me, we are blessed. All of us, didn’t make it this far. As an old guy I can proudly say, the music of our generation is still cool. We used to dance with women. The younger folks are trying to get to where we are now. They may have YouTube videos but you can probably get a sponsor. Old guys still rule.
When I went to a blogging conference in NYC. I was the old head in the group and actually heard a young woman say that she got into podcasting and blogging because she couldn’t get a job. Most of us that are doing the same thing have a job too. It might suck but we got one. We are trying to feed our families, get them jokers to college or help our grandchildren. I’m saying flip the scrip. Take stock in your blessings. We ain’t that bad off. Don’t covet. Don’t be jealous of the younger guys – we had our turn.
But we ain’t dead yet either.
The Jamaican guy gave me a stock tip, told me about this coffee called Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee and got me in the mood for some Bob Marley. I’m glad he got me to discuss it. I was on the edge of being grumpy myself.
none but ourselves can free the mind, free your mind brothers.