At 55

“I (will) now boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses…I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

That’s a quotation I heard on a podcast about Kendrick Lamar’s Damn. It’s apparently from the bible. Sometimes things resonate from unexpected places.

There are some ages that you never bother projecting forward to in your imagination. When you’re a kid, you think of 10, driving at 16, being adultish at 18, 20, and full adulthood at 21. Than as an adult, you ponder 25, 30, 40, 50, 75, and 100. Some ages fall into the categories of romanticized or horror, but 55 is a purgatory; somewhere between stately and the beginning of the end. Fifty-five is an age where you don’t even bother to tell people it’s your birthday. At 55, people don’t bother giving you gifts. It just is.

At 55, one is basically finished with many of the essential goals and milestones in life like first loves and marriages, having children, careers, street fighting, drag racing, drug experimentation, and all-nighters. And if you’re lucky you’ve accumulated many of the resources and major material possessions that will carry you through until the inevitable end. If you’ve been planning and customizing, you have plenty (of LPs and books).

At 55 you also realize that you’ll never complete that list of stuff you always wanted to do, see, experience and it really doesn’t matter so much anymore. There are some items that fall off your lists because you ultimately realize they are just dumb, dangerous, or not as interesting as they once seemed.

Beautiful women and men begin to see you as safe, essentially harmless. You’re the caring, calming father figure, the wizened sage. And if you’re not too creepy, you can embrace the attention that that role provides because you actually do know some stuff and the only remaining shot you have for doing-it-all-over-again is through imparting wisdom to youngsters who are not your own children––because your own children don’t actually care. If you are not careful, however, you will begin to fade into the scenery with the elderly.

At 55 you can hold, fold, or double down (I know nothing about cards). You can give up and die or you can stake your claim and carve out your niches.

When my birth mother texted me to wish me a happy birthday a couple of days ago, I thanked her for her genes because they serve me well. I look younger than probably 95% of men my age. I feel younger than probably 90% of men my age. I don’t know, these are guesses. But I am still doing just fine. I would be lying if I pretended that this did not matter. It matters.

While it is important, in some ways, to know what the youths are up to and how they do what they do, it is not important to emulate them. Fuck them. Remember, they are stupid. This I know. But, as long as I can hold my own in a conversation about groupme or tickety tock or snap, I preserve my space on the planet. I’m not going to use this garbage–nor am I gong to use facebox, twittering, or linkedin–but I maintain an awareness of what’s current (Nextdoor is for narcs, sads, and keyboard cowboys). The internet, I have learned, is as huge of a mistake as the internal combustion engine, religion, politics, and plastics. The internet is just AI algorithms that harvest your brain soul to sell you shit you don’t need nor can ultimately afford. Less is more at 55.

I gladly volunteer my time and expertise. I pick up trash in my neighborhood. I talk to dogs. I still embrace the urge to produce over the desire to consume. I feel genuinely happy when an artistic idea shows up for a visit. I feel equally happy to be able to do something with those visits. Unfortunately, I sometimes feel enough satisfaction thinking the idea through to completion rather than actually executing the idea. It’s like sinning in the mind, I suppose. But, I do what I can to remain "authentic" without forcing it.

My eyes are messed up now. They are technically healthy but they are also falling apart. Batch editing photos is no joy. Hell, reading can be a focus challenge sometimes. But I believe my driving skills are still solid. Fast, precise, meticulous. I still bicycle but take few risks. I floss. daily. I try to read when I can.

I cannot even imagine dating anymore, especially through the use of dating apps. I’m past that phase. But it doesn’t matter much anyway for obvious reasons. I'm 55.

And at 55, you can write about being 55 and not care so much about typos. None of it matters.