Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Peter Pan syndrome or just being as old as you feel?

I am often confronted by the fact that I am in my late thirties now. (All the over 40's pull out a violin - now).

And it doesn't help that 2010 is the year of 'Growing Up' at Kingsway and a great reminder to....well, grow up.

The back is sorer, the ligaments tear more easily and any sport you want to register for is in the masters area or just under. I have started saying things like "well 20 years ago, when I was in year 12" to twentysomethings. I wear white joggers with jeans, which I swore I would never do. All my surfboards are a foot longer and an inch thicker than they were 15 years ago.

So with the reality of those facts setting in, why did I choose this month to do up a BMX bike -no, not for my kids - for myself.

"Aaaaargggh" groaned Kel "You're not going to be one of those guys who rides around on a bmx with thongs and a VB carton on your shoulder are you"?.

Well no. Actually that is not the plan at all. But that is the 'perception' of a 37 year old riding a bmx bike around Cronulla.

A friend of mine, who is 60 going on 20, told me that "You need to do new things all the time if you are going to stay young". His latest hobby at the time was Gliding.

And that's all I needed to hear. But a question troubled me.

I guess the question is 'what makes us a man'.

To understand that I needed to do a list of boy vs man attributes and rate myself.

Boy takes Man gives
Boy is impulsive. Man gives consideration.
Boy puts self first. Man puts others first.
Boy is defensive Man is able to process criticism.
Boy is forgetful. Man is reliable.
Boy seeks pleasure. Man seeks intimacy.
Boy is lustful. Man is loving.
Boy fails to plan. Man does not plan to fail.
Boy is learning Man has learnt from mistakes.
from mistakes.
Boy is vengeful Man is forgiving.
Boy rides BMX Man lives youth vicariously through BMX.

So I did the self rating, gave myself an F, but at least I was being honest and realised I have a lot to work on in my journey to the fullness of manhood.
I don't want to live like Peter Pan, never growing up. But I still like a good stoush with the Pirates every now and then just to feel young and able.

I know when I pick up the Diamond Back tomorrow that even though my thoughts will be childish and I will see myself doing impossible things on it, the man in me will awaken during the first wheelie, as the sciatica kicks in, the ankle aches, and Kelly looks at me like I am the local ne'er do well. But my kids will yell out "Go Dad" and our generation gap will close that little bit.

There is a way to balance being a man and living a grown up life, with the exhuberance of youth. I am trying to navigate it with wisdom. If you ever work it out, let me know :)

1 comment:

  1. Love it Barry! Your too hard on yourself! 37 is not old! Think eternally.....your just a baby! Before you know it youll have that great youthful body back and itll be back to stay without limitations!
    I love your perspective on Boy vs Man.. really enjoyed this post!
    I am also 37 and planning sand boarding in Peru next month! Lol....cant wait to post the pics ;-)