I can totally dominate my 11-year-old daughter in tennis. I kick her ass basically.
Like, if she hits an easy shot, I can slam it back to the other side of the court and with her small legs there’s no way she can run to catch the ball..
That’s the way I roll. I destroy the dreams of 11-year-old girls.
Here’s the problem: I get tired. After about eight minutes I’m too exhausted to play anymore.
She’s like, “Daddy, what’s wrong?” But after all the strenuous work of slamming shots, dominating her with my topspin, running the net, lobbing, serving, etc I need a break.
My breath can’t be caught and for some reason I’m spitting gray gunk onto the ground.
We say kids have a lot of energy. Do they have a battery? Is it fully charged? Do they have more electronic chemicals or something? How does it work?
I’m older and I’m better at everything. And I know everything because I’m the father.
I can see her or my other daughter and I can see the life around them. I’m not talking about “auras”. I don’t know what that is. But just LIFE. They have it.
They ooze it. They spray it everywhere. And it comes out smart and it comes out stupid. It doesn’t matter. They can waste it at that age. They have enough to spare.
I have to bottle mine. Use it appropriately.
In Jimmy Connors’ autobiography he talks about how he started breaking down when he was #1 in the world in tennis. The new guns (John McEnroe) were coming up and beating him. He couldn’t hit #1 anymore. His bones were tired.
He was 29 years old.
Ok, that’s ok. That’s why I like chess and not tennis.
So I took a look at a list of the top 100 chessplayers in the world. They must be a bunch of old men.
#1, Magnus Carlsen, was born the year after I graduated college. I had to scroll down to #65 to find someone who was older than me. Julio Zuniga. Three months older than me.
I was at a conference last week of entrepreneurs. There were 15 speakers. I was one of them. Tim Ferriss was another. Marc Ecko was another. Lots of smart people. I was the oldest speaker.
But then I realized: out of the 110 people in the audience, I was older than all of them as well.
Where is everyone? Did they put the 45 year olds in a concentration camp? Is that even appropriate to say? Did they put the 45 year old Jews in a concentration camp?
Did I miss the exit on the ramp and end up in the under-45 year old world?
I feel better than when I was 20. And I know more about things. A lot more.
I could write a book with what I know!
I know that when a spouse starts telling me her problems, I need to LISTEN and not SOLVE her problems.
I know that if someone says, “I have a great opportunity for you”, then he is trying to send fuckness in my direction.
I create my opportunities. In my entire life nobody has ever magically given me one.
The only magic I believe in is when I cast the spells. I have 45 years worth of spells to cast.
I know at 45 that if I’m not happy “here” then there’s even less chance I will be happy “there”, in whatever daydream “there” exists.
But what the hell, every day is a battle: with depression, with health, with money worries (no matter how much you have, or how little), with love, with kids, with the institutions that always try to imprison us and scare us, with the arguments that always try to engage us.
One of my best friends for 20 years is no longer speaking to me. He brought up a web post I wrote two years ago that angered him. It was my anti-war post.
“Are you kidding?” I asked. I was so shocked. But he didn’t respond. He’s no longer speaking to me. Some years I lose friends. Some years I make friends. What’s the point of dwelling on it?
And I know if I let anything bother me, if I don’t truly appreciate the things in my life, if I don’t cherish the moment, and take care of my body and mind and emotions and spirit, then I can start to age.
We don’t just have a physical body. We have emotional, mental, and spiritual ones also. They all age. They all need to be taken care of and exercised and fed nourishing food.
Energy changes. I still have the energy of my youth. But it’s spread now through my other bodies.
Now I have to go and crush the hopes and dreams out of my 11-year-old on the tennis court. Someone has to teach her the harsh realities of life.
And yes, then I will feel like the king of the world.
For about eight minutes. Until she is standing over me, laughing, with her tennis racquet raised in victory.