My cure for enduring the mid-life crisisPublished 5:36pm Monday, October 17, 2011
One of my favorite stories of all time has to be Peter Pan; the story of a young boy who refuses to grow up.
Peter Pan comes from the realm of Never-Never Land, where people do not age. He encounters kids his own age and convinces them to come to his world to frolic in his adventures. He teaches them to enjoy life, play and think happy thoughts.
They also encounter Captain Hook, the evil pirate who is being pursued by a crocodile with a ticking clock inside his belly. This crocodile is symbolic, of course, of the ticking of time pursuing ol’ Captain Hook, and Hook in turn trying to be the ruin of Peter Pan, the symbol of eternal youth and adventure.
I think that story has always affected me because there is part of me that never really wants to grow up. Yet, the more and more I grow up, the more and more I see it to be inevitable.
I have found my destiny: It is growing older, day by ever-increasing day.
I’m pondering this after just having my 35th birthday. Not real old, I know, but it’s a start in the right direction.
The average life expectancy in the United States is 78.7 years as of 2009. I’m still in good shape. According to these figures, I am not yet at my mid-life crisis. Though, I am quickly gaining on the inevitable. What I need now is to find Peter Pan to sprinkle pixie dust on me in order to escape to Never-Never Land.
There is, however, a common cure that every human has been given – the gift of procreation.
With those little youngsters hanging around, there is no excuse to ever grow old. When you have a son who, at least five times a day, wants to go outside and play football, basketball and/or baseball, any grown-up on planet earth would have to stay in shape. Having a daughter who wants to go outside to play horse, or run around and play hide and seek will most certainly keep one on their toes.
The word “bored” is a cuss-word around here. Anytime we hear the word “bored,” we all cringe. Bored means that either these kids need to find something productive to do, or we need to assist them in getting outside to stretch their legs.
“Bored” may just be a rally cry for “do something with me.” The very mention of the word will send shivers up your spine. If you don’t believe me, I can personally send one of my kids to your house and have them say the phrase to you.
Kids always have a way of reminding you that you are indeed old in their eyes.
“What year were you born, Daddy?” my son asked me the other day.
“1976,” was my reply. Hearing the year 1976 from a 10-year-old’s perspective is eons ago.
“Wow, you’re old, Daddy,” is all he can say.
“Old is relative, son. I have underwear that are old, bought them the same year you were born. Stonehenge is old, too; it’s been around a lot longer than my holey pair of underwear. By the way, if you’re bored, why don’t you go bug Mommy – she’s ‘old,’ too.”
They may try to remind me that I’m getting old, but running around keeping up with their ever-increasing active lives keeps me on my toes and feeling young. For that fact alone, I think I need to endure the anguish of having more and more kids.
If my hypothesis is correct, I will never feel old as long as I continue to increase the child population. The pixie dust will be flowing in my household and Never-Never Land will be my new address.
These ever-aging bones will know no rest, as child after child of mine will use me to overcome boredom. I think I could live to about 120! Of course, at 35, I have a lot of tweaking to do on this theory.
I also have lot of explaining to do to my wife as to how we’re going to pull it off.
Chris Jakubowicz lives in Tryon with his wife and children. His bi-weekly column will focus on how he and his family are trying to get back to their grassroots. Jakubowicz can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.