Monday, September 16, 2019

The Curious Case of Michael Thomas

The email arrived in my work inbox without fanfare. It contained a simple request - people were needed for leadership positions in our local Young Professionals Group. While my active involvement with the local YPG had waned due to my work and family requirements, I remain aware of the various YPG activities in and out of the office and continue to receive updates via my Outlook inbox. This email was different, though. It contained a reiteration of the general criteria of YPG members.
  1. Less than 10 years of experience in the industry. 
  2. Age 35 or younger.
I am neither of those things.


A group of college students wandered by our CSU football tailgate. We had noticed the youthful nature of the students for a while, but this time seemed different. They looked... like... babies... A discussion among our crew of regulars delved into simple math. At the time, our kids' ages ranged anywhere from newborn to 9 years old. We were 13+ years separated from our graduations.

Our kids were closer in age to the college students than we were.


Sarah and I were in our well-lit bathroom. The reflection staring back at me above my sink begged me to clean up the lettuce atop my large, funny-shaped dome. I mentioned to Sarah that it was time for a haircut and asked if the boys needed one as well. She turned toward me, took one look at my mane, and said, "You can really see the grey when your hair is long." A quick glance back at the mirror confirmed her sentiments.

There was grey speckling my dirty blond coif.


This summer, I was fortunate to be in charge of three interns in the Denver transportation group. Two of the three were about to embark on their fourth and final year of school at CSU. The other one had just completed her first year at Colorado School of Mines. Once again, my lovely and astute wife pointed out the obvious.

I was old enough to be their dad.


While the realization that I am getting older has been lingering around me for a while, it smacked me in the face this past weekend as I watched my baby brother get married. His wedding to his beautiful bride signified the end of an era - all four Flick kids are now hitched. We ain't kids any more.

I ran into an old friend of mine at the last Rocky Mountain Showdown in Denver. I have known her since my first year in Colorado and our families carpooled in differing combinations over who-knows how many years to both All Souls and Mullen. We had not seen each other in a while and we were catching up on each other's spouses, kids, and lives. I made some comment about how we were getting old and she responded in the best way possible: "I know. And I love it."

Even after we went our separate ways that day, Diane's words stuck with me. She was right. We should love getting older. For every discussion I have with Sarah about a looming expense that we need to make sure we have in the budget, we have fifteen conversations about the awesome picture that Mackenzie drew or the charming thing that Carson said or the hilarious thing that Camden did. Our bodies are not as flexible or spry as they once were, but they still can participate in cul-de-sac kickball games. Work may be causing us stresses we never imagined in our youth, but a delicious craft beer from the fridge and a quick hug from the kids and those worries are gone. Our free time may have evaporated, but our hours are now spent watching the little ones improve their throws to first base or grasp the concept of a force out or dance to whatever song is on the radio.

Getting older is a privilege.

And I love it.