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40

Jul 14, 2013, 8:00 PM EST

Aging

This has nothing to do with baseball. I wrote it on my personal blog this morning, but (a) some folks asked me to share it with a wider audience; and (b) you all don’t get enough of my opinions and views and stuff, so I figured, sure, lets go with it. And what are you gonna do about it anyway? Stop me? Come at me, bro. I know all the passwords to this blog.

At least I think I do. I’ve been forgetting so many things lately. And it’s cold in here and …

When I was younger I was led to believe that 40 was old. Sometimes I feel a bit old, but it’s a good old. Old in terms of a certain kind of temperament which makes loud music seem annoying, too much rich food seem like excess and a quiet evening at home followed by a 10:30 bedtime seem like an ideal Saturday night.

Which is fine, because I’ve felt that way about such things since I was in my 20s. On some level you are who you are no matter how old you actually are. I don’t, however, feel old in the ways that matter.

Today, on my 40th birthday, I weighed in at 180 pounds, which is the lightest I’ve been since before I ceased growing at age 15. It’s amazing what cutting out excess sugar and carbohydrates does for a 40 year-old body. It’s amazing what moderation — a little bit of good whiskey or wine instead of a lot of cheap beer — will do for one’s spirit, body and soul.

Today, on my 40th birthday, I am preparing to get on a plane to New York to cover Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game for NBC. I am working a job that is exactly what I want to do and that, as such, is not truly work. I didn’t think this would ever happen when I was 35 and I wouldn’t dare dream of such a thing when I was 30. But I’m doing it and I still pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming.

Today, on my 40th birthday, I will greet my waking children with more vigor and alertness than I did when they were babies and I was in my early 30s. Unlike then I know what I’m doing now. I know what they need from me and know that I am capable of giving it. And I feel like they realize this too. They are my children and I am their father but they are also my best friends. And for all of the adversity the past couple of years has thrown at us, we are making a wonderful life for ourselves.

Today, on my 40th birthday, I will see my parents, who live close to me and remain close, and I will speak to my brother who lives far from me yet still remains close. I know so many people who have complicated relationships with their families yet, here I am, at age 40, closer to them than I was when we all lived together as a I grew up.

Today, on my 40th birthday, I woke up next to a beautiful, smart and thoughtful woman who cares for me and understands me and knows that, no matter what life throws at us, she can talk to me and I can talk to her and that we’ll make sense of the world together because we trust each other and love each other and yes, goddamn it, it really is that simple if you let it be.

Today, on my 40th birthday, I hear the music and language of young people and I see their styles and their problems and, rather than feel threatened or superior, I take comfort in knowing that there will always be youth and that they provide the fuel that drives us forward.

Today, on my 40th birthday, I likewise see the old, what they’ve made of this world and how they face their twilight years and, ultimately, their oblivion. I understand that I will one day be where they are. This causes me to carry less anger and resentment for my elders than I have harbored in the past and, somehow, brings me a strange sense of comfort. I neither lament the passing of time nor pretend that time does not march on.

Today, on my 40th birthday, I own all of the miles on my odometer. I look forward to what is left of my hair turning gray and my body growing tired. I know I am getting older and will one day die. But I also know that will not happen for a very long time and that between now and then I have a lot of life to live and a lot of things to do. That I will plan and strive and fight and live like a man who still has much left to do and prove.

Today, on my 40th birthday, I am at greater peace with myself, my life and my world than at any time I can remember. I feel like I can see for miles in any direction and that I can conquer any problem that comes my way no matter how big it is.

Years may give you wrinkles, a bald head and aches and pains. But years don’t make you old. You only grow old if you let yourself. By losing your enthusiasm, your curiosity and your ideals. By becoming someone your younger self would have hated. By that measure I don’t feel old at all. And I feel very happy to be 40.

  1. lewp - Jul 14, 2013 at 11:15 PM

    Dear Craig,
    First of all, Happy Birthday! I hope you had a super day today.

    I really enjoyed this piece of writing.
    Now, I don’t want to sound like your Baptist preacher but please indulge me.
    I am 62 years old, (or will be in September.)
    I had a heart attack 5 years ago, and it scared the hell outta me, enough so, I put down the smokes after 40 years of stupidity. Why I didn’t die, only the good Lord knows. The reason I mention this is because afterwards, I went through a bout of depression about mortality.

    Your piece today inspires me.

    “Today, on my 40th birthday, I likewise see the old, what they’ve made of this world and how they face their twilight years and, ultimately, their oblivion. I understand that I will one day be where they are. This causes me to carry less anger and resentment for my elders than I have harbored in the past and, somehow, brings me a strange sense of comfort. I neither lament the passing of time nor pretend that time does not march on.

    Today, on my 40th birthday, I own all of the miles on my odometer. I look forward to what is left of my hair turning gray and my body growing tired. I know I am getting older and will one day die. But I also know that will not happen for a very long time and that between now and then I have a lot of life to live and a lot of things to do. That I will plan and strive and fight and live like a man who still has much left to do and prove.

    Today, on my 40th birthday, I am at greater peace with myself, my life and my world than at any time I can remember. I feel like I can see for miles in any direction and that I can conquer any problem that comes my way no matter how big it is.

    Years may give you wrinkles, a bald head and aches and pains. But years don’t make you old. You only grow old if you let yourself. By losing your enthusiasm, your curiosity and your ideals. By becoming someone your younger self would have hated. By that measure I don’t feel old at all. And I feel very happy to be 40.”

    Absolute applause. Thank you Craig. Just awesome. The next time I have a pity party for myself, I’m gonna refer to this.

    One last thing Craig. Realize right now, at this instant, you are living the best that life has to offer. Just realize that right now, and at this very instant, you are making your memories.

    Thanks man. Thanks for letting us live a little bit of it with you.

    Lew

  2. ningenito78 - Jul 14, 2013 at 11:18 PM

    Craig, you’re a whiny, liberal, insufferable puss but you can blog your ass off an keep one of the best baseball blogs humming 24/7/365 so you’re one of the good whiny, liberal, insufferable puss’. Happy birthday Craiger!

  3. schmedley69 - Jul 14, 2013 at 11:31 PM

    Most advanced metrics show that bloggers start to really lose it at age 40, so if HardballTalk ownership was wise they’d think about trading you for a couple of bloggers in their 20’s.

  4. ramblingalb - Jul 15, 2013 at 12:03 AM

    I believe that’s what a personal blog is for.

    But, of course, I’m not an attention whore.

    • madsqgrdn - Jul 15, 2013 at 5:07 AM

      Of course you are alb…all trolls are attention whores.

      Happy 40th Birthday..I hope I can hit 40 with the grace you’ve shown today:)

  5. yahmule - Jul 15, 2013 at 12:19 AM

    Happy Birthday, Craig, I don’t always agree with you, but you always present a good argument for your opinions. Thanks for providing a pleasant place for some baseball lovers to pass the time.

  6. APBA Guy - Jul 15, 2013 at 12:39 AM

    Happy Birthday from someone who is past 40, and appreciates your insight, your journey, and the community you’ve created here.

  7. apkyletexas - Jul 15, 2013 at 1:08 AM

    Hi Craid – 40 is good, but 48 kicks ass – you’re gonna love it. You’ve got a lot to look forward to. And of course, everyone knows that men in their 40’s are absolute studs in the bedroom, so your wife/SO has a lot to look forward to as well. Happy Bday big guy.

  8. hughhansen - Jul 15, 2013 at 2:48 AM

    An admirable display of perspective.

    I’m happy you seem so content.

  9. natslady - Jul 15, 2013 at 4:31 AM

    Forty is great. The best years of my life (my forties are long past, and I can say that, in retrospect). Enjoy!

  10. charlutes - Jul 15, 2013 at 5:07 AM

    Aww, Craig’s trying to convince himself that aging is awesome! I’m 28 and still drink beer without regret. Booyah. This reads like a senile shopping list, with food replaced by personal inventory.

    • indaburg - Jul 15, 2013 at 7:24 AM

      You sound like kind of a jerk. He never said it’s awesome.

      It’s all in your perspective. 40 will be here before you know it, so may as well make the best of it. It’s inevitable, unless you plan to die young. You will blink. 12 short years. Gone. Will you won’t look as good. Will you still be kinda jerky?

    • stlouis1baseball - Jul 15, 2013 at 10:03 AM

      Charlutes…you would be well served to slowly read Inda’s post. Then read it again.
      You are pushing 30.
      I would think (by now)…you would be mature enough to respect people.
      Young people, old people, your peers, etc…
      This leads me to believe (with your attitude)…you won’t have any friends to enjoy your 40’s with.
      Good luck to you. You are gonna’ need it.

  11. baseballisboring - Jul 15, 2013 at 6:15 AM

    I’m 24 and I still deliver pizza and live at home. My life stinks.

  12. indaburg - Jul 15, 2013 at 7:20 AM

    I didn’t get to read this until today. I spent the weekend moving, leaving my husband. It went as well as it these things can go.

    This piece of writing is why I come to this blog–that, and baseball. We’re about the same age. You speak to a subset of our generation very, very well. You speak my language. I’m very happy for you, Craig, and where you are in life. As a long time reader and admirer of your work, I’m absolutely tickled that life for you is lining up nicely. Cheers to good whiskey, a fine love, great kids, and a pitchers’ duel.

    • stlouis1baseball - Jul 15, 2013 at 10:05 AM

      I also didn’t get to read this until to day Inda (for other reasons).
      Sorry to hear about your separation. That’s tough.

      • indaburg - Jul 15, 2013 at 2:41 PM

        It’s for the best, really.

    • IdahoMariner - Jul 15, 2013 at 1:49 PM

      indaburg –
      I am sorry to hear you are going through all of that. I have great faith, given your displayed wit and wisdom and perspective, that you will emerge on the other side of this at least as buoyant and at peace as Craig has been of late. Wishing you strength and support as you go through the crap before the peace.

      • indaburg - Jul 16, 2013 at 7:40 AM

        Thank you, Idaho. I truly appreciate your thoughts.

    • moogro - Jul 15, 2013 at 6:43 PM

      Courage. Stay blogging here.

  13. jayhawkinbama - Jul 15, 2013 at 8:44 AM

    Happy Birthday Craig! I’m a couple months away from that same milestone. Hope you continue your excellent writing for many years to come!

  14. charlutes - Jul 15, 2013 at 8:58 AM

    @indaberg

    I agree with pretty much everything you say. I am a bit of a jerk. I’ve always been OK with that, as long as I can maintain a rigid adherence to what I see as truth. Often Craig offers morality, and I commend him for it. I respect him, and often enjoy his writing, but my allegiance lies with the truth, however pretty, ugly or inconvenient.

  15. stlouis1baseball - Jul 15, 2013 at 10:08 AM

    Happy (belated) Birthday C.C. I hit the big 4-0 last year. I thought it was going to be a life changing milestone. Something that I really wasn’t looking forward to. Then…I discovered that it ain’t that bad at all. Actually kind of a pleasant surprise. Here’s to turning approaching 50! Bottom’s up!

  16. wheels579 - Jul 15, 2013 at 10:34 AM

    Happy Birthday and thanks for your perspective!

  17. IdahoMariner - Jul 15, 2013 at 1:59 PM

    happy birthday Craig!

    I don’t have to tell you to ignore the doofi (plural of doofus) who are incensed that they were somehow forced to read something personal, heartfelt and ultimately affirming on a baseball blog that has made its mark, in part, for its inclusion of such items and other bits of mostly-baseball-related-but-sometimes-not-related-at-all-to-baseball insight and opinion

    …so, I will just say to the doofi themselves: go somewhere else for your baseball news. You will be happier, we will be happier, it’s win-win.

  18. Bob Loblaw - Jul 15, 2013 at 3:06 PM

    Craig,

    Happy Belated. I liked the article, and am happy for you and the sense of “zen” you seem to be feeling right now. However, let’s not bullshit each other dude. As someone who is close to your age, has the same aged children, went through some of the same things you did in my 30’s, we both know exactly what the NUMERO UNO reason you are at the point in your life you are at right now. It starts with a big D and ends with a little e..Divorce. Without the divorce, you’d be exactly where you were in your early 30’s…hating life. I know…I’ve been there. And that’s not a dis on our exes. It’s as much a dis on us. We didn’t get divorced because we were perfect husbands. It was a much-needed step on the way to the heaven we are living in right now.

    However, to leave out getting divorced in this article, which was very personal and very open, was a major flaw. Makes me wonder if it still bothers you even with everything else you wrote.

    Good Luck on the next 40…

  19. nprakash5 - Jul 17, 2013 at 1:16 PM

    Belated Birthday wishes Craig!! Nicely written.

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