I remember when my dad turned 40 in 1982. After all, I was 12. (see left)
It was a big deal; we had a huge party, and there were pink flamingos clandestinely placed on our lawn in the night. Lordy Lordy, Look Who’s 40 was declared from many a card and answering machine message.
25 years ago, turning 40 was a big deal. Today? Well, my kids certainly won’t remember when I turned 40. My oldest was not yet 3, my youngest just 3 weeks old. While my parents got married young so they could get busy, I selfishly lived my life before finally settling in to the family thing.
Turning 40 to me, as a parent, has not been about what my body feels like, or how my looks have changed, or how my grey hair has settled in. To me, being a parent in my 40s has been more about worrying how I will navigate this life to the finish line. Just before I turned 40, I lost my job. We moved to a new city. Two years later my job description was changed and my income dropped again. So “middle age” to me has been less about how I look and feel and more about how I plan to provide for these two crazy monkeys for the next 20+ years until they can do it on their own.
This week I turned 43, and as I looked at the posts over on the Babble Voices side about what it means for Moms to be in their 40s, I thought it would be good to have a look at what it means to be a Dad in your 40s:
I've written about parenting
in the past - with tongue planted firmly in cheek, of course. But who can honestly say they enjoy aging? I’m fucking falling apart here. Yesterday I got winded taking an escalator.
Let’s be frank: at best, 40 is the chronological halfway point on our slow, meandering, sagging march towards death. Before 40, I had my whole life ahead of me. Now, suddenly, there’s only half of it left. And that’s only if I don’t get hit with falling ice or contract some unpronounceable disease.
Luckily, as a writer, I work well on deadline. So I’m determined to make the most of my finite time on this planet. And that means seeing as much of it as possible with my four-year-old son – at least until his terrible teenaged friends turn him against me from 2021 to 2027. Bastards.
Anyway, this past September, I took my son to India for a month. Next year, we’re going to Africa.
But it’s not about exotic locations. It’s about sharing awesome experiences together, wherever that may be. And that ongoing journey together is the most important one I will ever do. Hopefully, it inspires him to do the same down the road.
Ultimately, being a dad in my 40s has given me perspective. I loved being young and hate getting older. But I can't stop it. And that's why I'm going to enjoy every fucking minute of it.
Find Graeme at GraemeMcRanor.com
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Images courtesy each Dad profiled. No use without permission.