While still some months away, the impending arrival of my 40th birthday is really wreaking some
havoc in my mind these days. It is prompting some strange introspection, especially during those long runs when there is nothing but wind at my back, sweat on my brow and a sympathetic ear in my head.
On the one hand, I am grateful for the many blessings in my life. Indeed, whenever I pound one foot in front of another along an often picturesque running path (whether in rain, hail or sunshine), I often wonder how many men/women would give their right nut/(insert whatever is appropriate for female) to be in my position – one that is filled with good health, great kids and an irreplaceable soul mate, all surrounded by a supportive network.
On the other hand, I can’t help but ask some uncharacteristically philosophical questions. Questions such as: What have I actually achieved in life that I am proud of or will leave a legacy? Do I enjoy this thing that I do between 7am and 6pm Monday to Friday (and often even on weekends)? Having endured it for more than a decade and a half, should I even be doing it anymore as I approach the big Four-O? What happened to all those foolish dreams I had when I was young and reckless? Do I still have time to rejuvenate them now that I am hamstrung and timorous?
Questions like these can really fuck up your mind and force you to wonder where all that time went. It also turns one into a cranky old fart who goes around dishing out unsolicited advice to younger people – advice such as: Why are you so obsessed about getting a job out of university? You got the rest of life to work! Does what you do now really blow up your skirt or is there some other cool things that you are wasting your youth not doing?
It was through this emotional prism that I recently watched the movie, Moneyball, for the umpteenth time. Yes, I love the movie for the way it beautifully screen-adpated Michael Lewis’ baseball book about logic and science trumpeting over aesthetics and tradition.
However, its greater appeal, at least to me, is the back story of a middle-aged man who is haunted by his unfulfilled potential during his youth. And, more importantly, his attempted resurrection while grappling with all of life’s other challenges, the least of which is being a parent.
All these feelings are neatly encapsulated in the last scene of the move, where the main character is listening to a song sung by his daughter. And for some reason, although its lyrics are uttered from the perspective of a confused young teenage girl, they seem quite pertinent in the mind of an equally confused but not-so-young middle-aged father that is me.
If this is what they call the Mid Life Crisis, then I hope it doesn’t last too long. Because it feels like adolescence with the angst and all, but without the luxury to be foolhardy or to lose control.
Anyhoo, for those interested, here is the clip of the last scene from Moneyball. As you watch this during a quiet moment by yourself, if you feel even an inkling of what I do whenever I watch this, then you may just be having a Mid Life Crisis too.
Either that or you think this Jogging Dad has completely lost the plot!
Keep on pounding.