I turn 36 today. I’m not really sure how that happened. Neither are a lot of other people.
I realize 36 is still fairly young, but it’s definitely not my 20’s anymore. My father died around age 64, so technically I’m past mid-life by his standard, although I’m pretty darn certain I can stretch well past that. With cryogenic freezing advances I might even make it to “indefinite”.
I’m also now in the “over 35” category for martial arts competitions. In just 4 short years I have to look forward to a new addition to my annual physical and will begin choosing my physicians based on the size of their hands. (Smaller is better.)
This weekend I’m also finishing up EMT refresher class so I can transfer my Colorado certification to Arizona since it expires in a couple months. I first certified as an EMT in 1990/91, and was a paramedic in 1993 for 3 years before dropping back to EMT. I’m not the oldest in the class, but I’m definitely the only one there with extensive field experience.
Back when I first became certified I remember listening to the war stories and wondering how I’d react. Mostly I thought, “cool! I hope I get to do that!” The nastier and bigger the better.
Now, when I’m not telling my own stories, I think to myself, “damn! I hope that doesn’t happen to me!”
So much for the invulnerability of youth. I expected hair loss, slower healing, and degradation of my vertical jump, but it was a slap in the face to realize how much more aware I am of my own mortality.
(On a good side, I realize how much age has improved my skills as a health care provider. Not the physical skills nor the technical knowledge, but despite being a bit of an asshole in general I realize I focus much more on patient comfort and compassion than showing off my skills.
It’s now about them, not me.)