Friday, June 1, 2012

Time to Grow Up!

Yesterday Phil Miller, the man who hired me at my position, retired from thirty years of service with our firm.  He’ll be sorely missed.  Aside from his peculiar antics that make him him, he has been a great mentor and friend over the years.  Sure, he’s probably come to me for technology-related issues a hundred times more often than I’ve sought out his advice on retirement planning, but that’s the nature of our chosen fields of expertise.  Still, he paved the way for our company bringing in an IT expert twelve years ago and thereby giving me a job, and for that I’m thankful.

I guess I’ve reached a point in my lifetime where it’s time to put on the big-boy pants and accept the fact that my parents’ generation, the Baby Boomers, are all on their way out.  Sure, we’ll still see them holding political offices and heading large companies and corporations.  For some of us, age never seems to trump the prospects of more or continued money and/or power.  But for the most part, all of the Baby Boomers have already, are in the process of, or will be retiring very soon, relinquishing duties and control over to Generation X.

Funny, because I still feel like a kid.  I guess having that feeling is a good thing.  I mean, I’m on the latter end of the generation, having been born in the late 70s.  I also had my son later in life, being 31 when he was born.  Having a young one in your life tends to make you feel younger.  I swear I have just as much fun as he does playing with his Avengers toys and building forts out of pillows and stuffed animals.  We could spend hours in the toy store, both of us playing with cars and light-up swords and gauging which ones are worth buying to take home and play with some more.  Honestly, I don’t want to grow up!

Five years ago, before my son was born and my father passed away, I really felt like a kid.  Na├»ve.  Carefree.  Careless, to some degree.  My responsibilities from that time seem piddly compared to the ones I have now.  And whenever I had a question, I’d typically go to my dad.  He seemed to know everything, whether it was how to change brakes on a car to building a deck to water treatment processes and options.  He only attended a few years of college, but being a Navy Corpsman, electronics salesman, chemical salesman, and DIY master, he always seemed to know the answers to any of my questions with his huge vault of knowledge.

Now it seems more people have questions for me than I have for them.  And more often than not, I know the answer.  Maybe not to the extent that I could write a Wikipedia article on it, but I always seem to know enough.  I don’t know if it’s all those years of Q&A sessions with my father or my lifetime experiences or my education, but it’s amazing how I’ve acquired so much over the years.

It makes me realize that somewhere there I guess I already have grown up.  I can’t pinpoint a date or a year.  Was it the day my son was born?  Or when my father passed away?  Was it the day I graduated from college or started my first big boy job?  Or perhaps when I bought my first car or my house?  I don’t know, but all of those things made me take a leap into the unknown, and each one of them likely contributed to my “grown-up” status.

Thirty years or so from now, I’ll be retiring as well.  Maybe I’ll have grandkids and a cozy little spot picked out where I can spend the rest of my years.  Maybe not.  But no matter what—no matter how much I know or where life will take me, I think I’ll always still be a kid, still thinking that someday I’ll have to put on my big boy pants and grow up.  Or maybe it’s just better if I keep being that “grown-up” subconsciously and instead focus on having fun in life.

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