Dad at 40

Fitness, Nutrition, Parenting, and Life

Archive for the category “Getting Older”

Little Voices = Bad Choices

So, I was looking at my car about 15 months ago. My son was not yet a thought in my head. However, the idea of not having a fun car was. This little voice in my head chimed in and said “Get a new car!” so off I went to the dealerships to look at options. What to get? What would be fun and reasonable?

But before I begin, I should note that I am 6’8″ and car shopping is in interesting exercise in finding fit, form, and function that works for me. Add to that the possibility of a future child and you have some interesting things happening.

My choices at the time:

Nissan 370Z – Yeah…no. Great car. But, no. First off, it is pretty expensive and it is downright claustrophobic. Despite being a great looking car with performance to boot, I just could not justify this car to myself.

Ford Mustang – Sweet ride. Had been recently redesigned and looked amazing. Problems at the time – dealers were not letting you test drive them. They were too hot an item. Strike one. Sitting in the thing, it is small. Very cool, but small. The back seat could be used for a puppy. Not a baby, but a puppy. A small one. Strike two. Inflated prices. They were marked up the wazoo and I was not interested in buying an expensive car with a new and untested design. Strike three.

Hyundai Genesis Coupe– The Genesis is a nice car. Make no mistake. It was nice. I thought this was a serious contender. But again, for a guy my size it was really small. I was concerned that I would not be comfortable. Just not something that I was going to enjoy in the long run. But, if you are shorter and want a lot of car for your money, then the Genesis coupe is an awesome deal.

Mercedes C or E Class Coupe – I had owned a CLK once. It was a great car. Awesome for a guy my size with room to spare. I will say that I miss that car. However, the challenge of being a Mercedes owner is the cost of insurance and repair on a luxury car. Plus, it is a sitting target for thieves. No, I do not think roving bands of thieves run around town seeking out a random Mercedes coupe to vandalize. But of all the cars I have owned, it is the only one I ever had vandalized, so my perspective is biased here. A new or slightly used one was still hella expensive and not something I wanted to drop all my money into.

BMW – Nope. Just nope. Never liked Beemers. Not to say they are bad cars, just not my cup of tea. Why? I am not fond of their interior. So, ruled out quickly. The interior had not changed much from what I remembered. So, not a good fit.

Audi Coupe – Great car. But really pricey. Not as comfortable as I had hoped. So, not a good fit. Again, I am sure people shorter than me would love it. But it was not my thing.

Dodge Challenger – Ding ding ding. The winner by a wide margin. But, it was a Dodge and I was not sure if I would enjoy it. Still, old school American muscle. It looked great. More importantly, it was big and comfy. It had all the perks I would possibly want. They loaded these things. Great deal too. Of course, the little voice said this is the car….this is the one. Buy it. A more calm and collected voice, my wife, was telling me that I should really get a four door. But no, I was getting old and this was my last hurrah. I wanted the Challenger. Hellcat? SRT? Shaker? Nope. Just the V-6. Rode great and had plenty of power. Awesome choice. I even convinced myself it would be easy to get a baby in and out of the backseat.

 

Dodge Challenger

My mid-life crisis car.

So, fast forward about a year. The car was great. I loved every minute of having it. For a V-6, it was more than enough car. However, enter a small child. A baby. Ok, now I want to murder that little voice that said get this car. Why? Because that little voice is insane. I shall never listen to that little voice again. So men out there, do not listen to that little voice. Tune it out. Put on headphones. Do whatever you have to do so it does not win out.

Having a carseat in a car like this is torture. You literally have to be an Olympic gymnast to get into the back seat to put a child in. Honestly, it would be easier to teach my 8 week old to hop in the car and strap himself in than getting in and out of the car. It was a painful lesson in practicality. I share this with you all because I hope that no one makes the same foolish mistake I did. Sure, I loved that car. But it was not practical at all.

So, what was my solution. Well, here I go again to find a new car. Fun times. What to get? Well, SUVs are not my thing. I still did not want a fuddy-duddy car. So, I had to find something that would be cool and fun and large enough to accommodate my family. Yeah, this was going to be fun. Where would I find a car like that? Hmm? Where? What? And yes, I realize these are first world problems, but I am sharing my experiences with you, good and bad.

So, I found this other car – a Dodge Charger. Imagine that. A what? Charger? The same car I could have had 15 months ago and saved myself a few thousand dollars in stupidity tax. Yeah. That car. Well, stupid people should pay a stupidity tax and I am no exception. One new car later and I have the space and comfort that I should have been thinking about from the start. Luckily, I am in a position to absorb this hit without it killing me. But I know many people are not. I hope that this post helps someone. I also hope that I made the right choice. It feels right though, so I am lucky. But yes, my more improved four door experience. And I stress this – four doors are important with a baby!! if you take nothing else away from this…get four doors!!!

Dodge Charger

My second mid-life crisis car.

 

 

Being a Dad at 40 Something

I am going to be 43 this year. As I have gone through life, I have looked at my aging as a ridiculous obstacle that existed in my head. I am young still, active, healthy, and full of energy. This age thing is nothing more than some fear instilled in us by society.

A funny thing happened though. In my mid-30s, I started feeling lethargic. I was not sure why. I gained weight and slowed down – no matter how hard I worked. That sense of youth and vigor was slipping away. There was no real reason it happened. It was not like I rolled over one morning and decided to stop feeling and being young. So, after a couple of years, the doctor finally did a blood test checking my hormone levels to discover that my testosterone was depressingly low. All of the regular remedies were tried until finally it was determined that I need to take synthetic testosterone. Yep, you heard that right – anabolic steroids. Before all the guys start high fiving and say “eureka!”, it was determined that I should take one of the weaker ones and in controlled weekly doses. Boy, it made a huge difference and I noticed it right away. Let me tell you, it is like the fountain of youth. Really…increased muscle mass, libido, energy, vigor, and so many wonderful effects when you inject it properly.

But, along the way I have noticed a few things and I want to share my experiences with everyone.

  1. Eyesight – I started noticing my eyesight getting a little wonky about two years ago. I love to read and enjoy reading a variety of things, but reading a book was becoming harder and harder. Went to the doctor for a vision test. My vision is still considered 20-20. How could this be? Well, the test measures some basic lines of letters read at a certain distance. That is pretty easy. However, up close was a different story. I needed corrective lenses, readers, but still, corrective lenses. Me being the problem solver I am asked the doctor what it would take to fix my eyes. LASIK? Some other procedure? I was ready to pay it. He looked at me and smiled and said these simple words – “son, you can’t fix age”.
  2. Gym time – This gets harder everyday. Waking up at 5 or 6 in the morning is not as easy as it once was. The body remembers the moves, but sometimes executing them is not as easy. Oh, I can still do all the moves, but I have to look at which lifts and techniques will complement an aging body as opposed to simply doing what I want. How do I know this? I have a scar on my shoulder from surgery telling me this. Don’t go thinking that I tried to lift too much or lifted carelessly. My shoulder simply decided that it had enough. I asked the doctor what was happening when he checked me – “well, you have a degeneration of the end of the bone. You are getting older. You’ll need a distal clavicle resection”. Then he suggested I give up regular bench press and other lifts that strained the shoulder in favor of lifts that were easier on my joints. I never recalled this conversation in my teens or college days, but it is not really a bad one to have. Just something I noticed with age.
  3. Fatigue – Here we go with the baby stuff. Being a dad at any age is exhausting. Being a dad at 40 something is just plain hard. Whether you have done this before or are starting over like me, it is just hard. At this age, many of my contemporaries are talking about being grandparents soon. Heck, some even are grandparents! But, I started over. The beauty of the grandparent thing is that when you tire of the screaming baby, you hand him over to mom and dad and you leave. Not so when you are dad. Fatigue sets in as you have to deal with everything all the time. Up three or four times a night (on a good night) and disrupting sleep cycles that your aging body needs more than ever. It leaves you feeling tired a lot of the time. And this is because my job is easy compared to my wife.
  4. Retirement – Yeah. I threw that in there. Retirement. When you hit 40, at least in my mind, you start to look at your exit plan from this working life. A word you never thought you would think about becomes a reality. Retirement. First, just a word of caution – think about it when you are 18. Start early so you can possibly retire early. Me, I started a wee bit later than I should have. I accept that choice, but it does not mean I do not think about it. Having a child has changed that idea for me. I can technically keep my son on my health plan until he is 26. I have a very good health plan. I can make sure he has no student loan debt. I can do a lot of things to give him a leg up. But, 26 is the magic number. I am 42. The math sucks, but you do what you have to for your children.

There are a few others, but I have to get ready for work. I will expand on this at some point. For now, these are the things I notice the most about being a dad at 40 something. It is a challenge. It is not easy. Make no mistake, the reward is great! But, it requires patience, sacrifice, careful planning, and a change in how you see the world and your place in it. It might be subtle for some while major for others, but if you enter into this adventure and change nothing about yourself or your thinking, then you are doing it wrong. Think about that. It is not an attack, but a simple statement of truth. Being a dad forever changes things and forever changes you.

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