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Cornelius News

Turning 45: A time for introspection? Nope.

Dec. 9. By Jon Show. I turned 45 last week. Man, that must make my parents feel old. So I sit here, on the cusp of ending another trip around the sun, channeling my inner David Byrne and asking, “Well, how did I get here?”

Honestly, I have no idea.

I’m terrible at looking back on time, forming an objective, or even a subjective, memory of what happened, and then ruminating on it or sharing it with others. At any given moment I generally have no idea how I got there, literally or figuratively.

To be honest, I always thought my put-your-chin-down-and-charge-ahead philosophy was a positive thing. What’s the point of looking back once something is over? Good or bad you can’t change the past so just focus on the future, right?

Unless you’re in jail. Then you’ve clearly made very poor life choices and extensive self-reflection is probably a good thing.

My lack of recall isn’t because I lack caring or I don’t have amazing memories. I feel like the last 45 years were full of them. I just can’t recall them on demand or without being assisted. My brain needs a spotter.

How I reflect

Once a year, I go away with my friends I grew up with and when I return I have the same conversation with the Mother of Dragons.

“Did you have a good weekend?”

“Yeah, it was fun.”

“What did you do?”

“I don’t know. Sat around and made fun of each other.”

“What was your favorite part?”

“I don’t know.”

“How can you not have a favorite part?”

“I don’t know, but I know my least favorite part is answering these questions.”

When we got married someone threw an engagement party for us. We got roped into this questionnaire game where each of us was supposed to list some of our memories and favorite things, and then we’d try to guess what the other person said.

I don’t remember all the questions—’cause, duh—but my wife guessed Italian food and Whatchamacallit were my favorite type of food and candy bar, respectively. I answered soup and Twix. She was right and I was wrong.

The final question in the game was to name the “site of your first kiss.” I went first and answered my friend’s garage couch in seventh grade. My wife correctly responded with the site of our first kiss—a wedding in Northern Georgia. Oops.

Faced with turning half of 90 and a complete inability to produce a rational moment of self-reflection, I retreated to Google to see if it had any suggestions. Why Google? Because Google knows everything. It’s our modern day version of the tribal elder.

Google me this

Google suggested that I should reflect upon my life in larger blocks of time rather than individual occurrences. It’s like examining seven-day trends of COVID-19 vs. daily reports because it’s a more accurate portrayal of disease spread. These are the kind of analogies that I make now.

So I sat down, thought about things, and broke up life into decades that I would describe thusly:

0s: We lived on a farm. I played baseball and hockey and went fishing. Larry Bird. Tube socks. Cutoff shorts. My mom ran over quite a few cats. My dad caught the dock on fire.

10s: I wore baggy clothes and had lots of hair. School. Sports. Metallica and Guns ‘n Roses. College. Very cheap beer.

20s: Blindly wandered through life hoping something in my professional life would work out. Very bad at getting women to go out with me. $2 Guinness on Thursdays. Found chicken bones in the couch cushions. Got married. Developed a bald spot. Red Sox won the World Series.

30s: Some professional improvement. Bought a house that required way too much work. Went to a lot of weddings. Had kids. Got pooped and peed on (by the kids). IPAs. Still married. Balder.

40s: Work is going great. Wife is great. Kids are usually great. Bought a new house that requires no work, so that’s great. Switched back to light beer. Lower back kinda hurts but I think it has something to do with my left hip. Kids sports. Figured out how to grow grass. Grey beard hairs. Still bald.

So much for that exercise.

My birthday this year fell on Thanksgiving, as it has at least half a dozen other times in my life. Maybe it’s fitting that someone who can’t stir up memories on demand regularly celebrates a birthday on the one day a year everyone is supposed to stop looking backward or forward and just be thankful for what they have in the moment.

Either way I’m 45. Man, that must make my parents feel old.

Jon Show lives in Robbins Park with his wife, who he calls “The Mother of Dragons.” Their 10-year-old son is “Future Man” and their 7-year-old daughter is “The Blonde Bomber.” Their dog is actually named Lightning.