Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Older I Get The Better I Was...NOT!

"The Older I Get The Better I Was"

Now I'm not 100% sure the above expression is a song, a famous quote or just an adage but it's one I'm familiar with. In fact someone recently left it as a comment on something I had posted on Facebook referring to the "good old days". A throwaway line for sure but it got me thinking "is it true"? I'm not so sure. Unlike a lot of people I never really had a "glory days" to think back on. A time when I was at my peak of whatever. I was never a great athlete, never spent summers away in cool places, lord knows I was never much of a lady killer. No, my favorite time period was when we were all together having fun being loud and stupid and, quite honestly, if others would do the same, I could still do that today. So I got to thinking- was I better when I was younger? I decided to pick an arbitrary time of 20 years ago when I was in my late 20's to compare and contrast to today in my late 40's. You may be surprised at the conclusion, I know I was

Physically- In my late 20's I was just starting my ascent into being really fat. I 'd say I was likely 270 lbs when I was 28. I was also at my physical peak strength wise (I had a legit nearly 500 lb drug-free bench press), hadn't had surgery of any sort and wasn't, as far as I know, diabetic. My hair was at least salt and pepper heading to pure salt. Today I am at around 185 lbs and in the best condition I've been in since my early 20's. Unfortunately much of my once vaunted strength is gone but it's been replaced with conditioning. I'm diabetic although recently re-diagnosed  as pre-diabetic because of taking better care of myself. I've had surgery on one knee and 2 shoulders and have a left hip that just plain tends to disagree with me about everything. The hair is snowy white but I actually don't mind it. All that said I feel the best I can remember so I'll call it a push Advantage- Even

Financially- This is an easy one. In my late 20's I was broke! I was struggling to get out of pile of credit card debt which kept me living at home until I was 36 years old. I owned the clothes on my back and a 7 year old Ford Probe that leaked when it rained. Today while I'm hardly living on Easy Street I'm doing ok. I own a condo (with a mortgage), a car that's paid off and have money set aside for retirement. I do well enough to be able to do MOST of the things I want to do and still live for the most part in the black (well, mortgage aside) Advantage- Now

Relationships- Um, right Still not married, still no kids, still not great with relationships. Advantage- Even

Work- Also pretty easy as I have the same job! That said I'm a lot happier with my job and a lot better at my job now then 20 years ago Advantage- Now

Life Skills- No contest. I didn't have any until I moved out by myself in my mid-30's. I couldn't balance a checkbook, cook anything beyond pasta, etc. Now, even tho it is for one, I run my home pretty efficiently. I do pretty well my managing my bills and finances, have taught myself to cook to a better then average level, and have mastered my time management skills Advantage- Now

Friends- OK, I'd say I actually have more close friends now and I'd say a couple of my closest friends I made in the years since my late 20's. However I don't see any of them to the degree I saw my friends from 20 years ago. I was never as close with a larger circle of friends as I was in my late 20's. Ironically 28 was around the time we all started moving on with life so literally 20 years ago was the end of my favorite time in my life as far as friends go. Advantage- Then

As A Person- Again, no contest. 40-something Rich is a much better person then 20-something Rich was. 20-something Rich was a good friend, a pretty good son and brother and a great guy to hang out with. 40-something Rich is far more developed. I'm a nicer person, I'm a better friend, son, brother and now uncle then I was then (and still pretty cool to hang out with).  I'm more tolerant, less angry, less moody, more contemplative, more in touch with my emotions...honestly, just a much better person. The ups and downs of life can take it's toll on you or make you stronger. For me it's been the latter Advantage- Now

So, in this very unscientific way, there it is. I'm the best Rich O I've ever been. I already knew that as I LIKE this me better then any previous version. I'm comfortable being me and don't give a rats behind if someone has issue with that. Let's face it, "looks" have never been a trademark for me (I was never cover model material). but I feel like I've "grown into my looks". When I look in the mirror sure I see the gray hair and the only just now appearing lines on my face.. But when I look "inside" I don't see 48. I don't see any age. I see a guy enjoying the age he's at. Maybe my decision to not marry or have kids (or maybe this was the decision of the women who got to know me well enough to run away) that's kept me feeling like I'm living life in a stasis chamber. Whatever it may be I'm cool with it. I plan to be a better version of me at 58 and 68 (78 is probably a stretch) as well. And hey if I'm not then I can look back on my late 40's as my "glory days".

"The older I get the better I am"

Rich O'Rourke
July 2014