Monday, April 28, 2014

Happy Birthday You Old Old Man...

My Husband turns 40 this week.  With the help of his mother and some other fabulous folks, I threw him a nice party.  It was my first grow-up party.  Usually we do the 'BBQ at our house" with family or friends.  I cook and he grills and we just hang out.  Well since it was his 40th I opted for a nice but small shin-dig.

His brother and his best friend from childhood are both just two years older and both called him an Old Man this weekend.  Which got me thinking about age.  In reality I think my husband is "younger" now than he was 14 years ago when we got married.  Honestly he seems to be reverse aging.

I know I am totally biased but the man is more handsome 
and fit than he was when we first began dating.  He is svelte.   

But when I say he has undergone reverse aging, I mainly mean it more than just in his physical appearance.  He is more relaxed, more playful, more spontaneous, more comfortable in who he is. 

When talking about age developmental psychologists refer not only to a person's chronological age, but also to their biological, social, and psychological age.  
So although my husband was turning 40, his biological age may be closer to 25, his social age may be closer to 50 and his psychological age may be  35.   I haven't actually tested him to see what these ages are - I am just throwing those out there into cyber-space.

And by reverse aging I don't mean to say that he is becoming immature - he just was always very mature and super responsible.  I have gotten more so as I have aged but really, I needed to grow up.  My husband on the other hand has always been a planner and detailed and now that we have kids and a mortgage he is relaxing rather than stressing.  He has always been successful at work and has been with the same company since 1997.  Recently he has discovered hobbies and things outside of work.  When we first got married he thought he would 'die at his desk', now he has all sorts of fun plans for retirement when that comes.   Together we have developed a home life worth working for, but also worth enjoying.  And so while some his age are stressing about 401Ks, he is coaching JR's soccer team and wanting to go to the park to "play". 

Our ages are a function of much more than the years on the calendar.  There are 70 year olds out there who are aging fast.  Memory, physical decline, social withdrawal - it all leads to them seeming very OLD.  There are others in their 80s who are spry and energetic and active in their community.   I think part of how we stay young as we age, is by learning new things and being open to new idea.  

So how do we do this…I can identify a few things that seem to have really contributed to my husband's reverse aging.  He took a public speaking class in maybe 1999.  It was great for him and helped him develop incredible confidence that I didn't even knew was lacking.  Then in 2005 when I became Catholic we had a huge resurgence as a couple as we learned intellectually all about the faith.  It is hard to really share or converse about something when your actual knowledge about the topic is spotty.  So with those two examples, he went from being more reticent to lead or talk about something, to having great confidence and courage.  Rather than withdrawing from conversations as some do as they mature, he developed a younger man's inquisitiveness and passion for life.  

Then as our children got older he wanted to work less and be present with the family.  I have always expected a co-parent not a weekend dad.  When you have a real day-to-day relationship with your kids your entire interaction with them is different. It is hard for instance, to scold a child when you haven't seen them all day. You lack the history, the perspective, and the knowledge about their day.  If your only interaction with them is to point out their misbehavior it stinks for both the kids and the parent.  Who wants to do that?  But because my husband is a co-parent in his 'out of work' hours, it makes all the difference in the world - he WANTS to really play with them and be with them and they genuinely miss him during the day too.  And kids also keep us young. Well actually I think they often suck the life out of their mothers, but they seems to keep their dads young.  Enough of the psych stuff though… the party was so much fun!

We had photos on the table that really showed his progression year to year.  I really wanted to honor those who were present have photos of him with his siblings and friends. Also the kids look so much like him when he was little so that was fun too.  And the centerpieces were super cheep and cute.  I got the fancy looking sand from my sisters pool filter (random) and orange branches from the trees. Ribbon, construction paper and photos was all that was needed. 

My son Anthony has a side business scanning photos for people to put on disks.  His grandma gave him a few hundred photos to scan, then I was able to choose what I wanted to print.  We also had a photo slide show.  As usual with kid projects I ended up doing WAY more than I had planned.  Anthony went out of town with my parents the week before the party so I ended up learning a whole new set of skills I had no interest in learning.  

In our family if my husband knows how to do something, then I have zero interest in learning it.  We call it cognitive sharing. There is too much to learn in this life for us to both be crowding our brains with some skill that the other one does (I know that can seem to totally contradict the lifetime learning approach but I want to learn OTHER stuff).  So when it came time for me to put the slide show together and edit family interviews in iMovie I thought I seriously was going to loose it.  I hate this stuff.   I can't do this stuff.  Honestly, I would rather be digging a ditch.  But he loves it.  

Sometimes we end up giving people the gifts we want. This was a clear case of me knowing that he likes this stuff and would love the video/slideshow stuff so I needed to just deal.  Out of love for him I had to buck up and teach myself the basics.  It was his favorite part of the party and so worth the efforts.  

The boys came to help serve during the grown up party.  They were up far too late but it was a night they won't forget. The party was on the 13th floor (which for Phoenix is high up) of a condo.  We set up dinner inside and cocktails outside. It was beautiful. 

JR with his granddad hearing about the day 40 years ago when my husband was adopted. One of these days I will do a post about that INCREDIBLE adoption/reunion story.  
But that is a another post for another day.  Follow me and you will get it soon I hope. 

We had about 40 people that night.  My side of the family, his side of the family, and then both his biological mother and father and their families.  We also had a handful of really special friends - many of whom who have known him for more than 1/2 of his life.  I think it says a great deal about a man when he has friends in his life for 20, 25, 35 years - and he is only 40.   So to you all, thank you for coming to the party.  But even more importantly thank you for helping shape this man into the amazing husband and father that he is today!

Happy Birthday You Old Old Man! I love you!

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