As I sat on the plane waiting to leave Houston and Dad 2.0 Summit, after a weekend of listening to men speak freely and without judgement about what it’s like to be a father (in a space where I thought I might feel like an interloper, but instead was welcomed freely and without judgement) I noticed a young man who was probably a little older than my daughter. He entered the plane and tossed his scruffy, One-Directionesque, side-swept hair, all brown and wavy in the style that makes teen girls swoon. I eyed his bright smile which was likely just freed from braces and wires.
A few feet from him was a man shoving his heavy, black bag into the overhead bin. He was bald, wearing wire-rimmed, round glasses that matched his belly. I guessed he was 60. He looked tired.
There were such obvious physical differences between them that I couldn’t help but wonder, despite the fact they were males, with whom I had more in common.
Want to guess where this is going?
I’m nearing my 42nd birthday so if the boy was 18 and the man was 60, I’m squarely in the older group and despite what you may think, that actually isn’t all bad. Sure, he has that belly to contend with and he probably has his fair share of aches and pains, but I’m going to go ahead and state that the elder fellow has better taste in music. Zeppelin wins. Every time. Plus, he doesn’t have to worry about doing his hair.
It was also legal for me to order a vodka and cranberry on the flight and I apparently looked just haggard enough that the flight attendant gave me a drink, plus another one, and both of them were free. She said, “I always pick someone to be nice to and you look like you need it.” Another good thing about being older is that you know insults are easier to bear when there is free alcohol involved.
Although I don’t doubt the young, wavy-haired boy has a lot to offer, he can’t possibly be sure of himself yet. He thinks he’s sure of himself, but that’s just his body trying to trick his mind. If he’s a typical teen, he doesn’t know the challenges he will face. And, there will be many.
School is hard, girls are harder, but throw in kids and a mortgage and then we’ll see if that kid doesn’t look like he could use some free liquor. Also, another benefit of age is knowing when to STOP drinking free booze. There are many times that I wouldn’t have quit at two. Go ahead and ask all the friends who’ve held my hair back.
Just because you look like you’re strong and capable it doesn’t mean you are. And, I don’t think I was even confident enough to make that statement at the age of 18. Sure, I’m capable! Do you think I’m, like, capable? What about that guy in my English class? Does he think so? Where’s my Aqua Net? I CAN’T BE CAPABLE WITHOUT BIG BANGS!
Me and that 60 year old, we may have issues, but we have the history to show we can make it through them. Either that, or we’ll die trying.
Pass the vodka.