1) Dye my hair jet black,
2) Get all my teeth fixed so they looked like crazy white chiclets,
3) Fake tan to the color of mahogany,
4) Wear a girdle if necessary, and most important of all:
5) Insist that this was the way I always looked.
I figured I'd do this when I hit 60, and I would refer to this new phase of my life as the "Tom Jones Years".
Well, the Tom Jones Years have started a little early I think.
This is a busy time of year around our household: my birthday, Father's Day and our wedding anniversary all fall within 7 days, and it's always a time for reflection and celebration. This year I'm really happy about my birthday--I turn 45 soon--and I realize that I'm at the halfway point of my life. Not in the typical mopey middle-aged man sense that the rest of my life is a long slow decline. No. I'm at the halfway point in the sense that I have an entire second life to live now. I get to do what a lot of people never get to--leave one career, voluntarily and with a good pension, and start a second. And this time it doesn't have to be something I just fall into almost as a fluke, like law enforcement was. I get to choose.
MizBubs and I are both making plans for college in the fall; at the same time that our eldest is getting ready to visit 4-year colleges this month in preparation for transferring next year. It's fascinating to realize that we are essentially asking ourselves the same question that our daughters are asking: what do we want to do with our lives?
So, as I look around at this halfway point, I'm pretty damn lucky and pretty damn happy. This time last year I was kind of depressed--I was recovering from having been gutted like a fish, I had just lost a 3 year long union organizing campaign, and beyond the de-whitetrashification of our house and yard, I had no focus or energy.
Now, you might be asking yourself, what does this have to do with The Tom Jones Years? Well, I'll tell you. I was feeling pretty good after a visit to the dentist Monday--he complimented me on the health of my gums and the general whiteness of my teeth. I was looking forward to running this week, and especially to our first camping trip of the season planned for this weekend.
But I was tired of looking in the mirror and seeing this:
I decided that it was time for a change. So, after much consulting with MizBubs and our eldest (the youngest was not on board for this) we stopped at Walgreen's and invested in a box of Clairol nice n' easy gray solution #4 (dark brown.) Our eldest, the beauty wizard, applied the dye and walked me through the process.
As of this morning, I look in the mirror and see this:
Yes, I have become a ridiculous middle-aged man with a dye job. I have not done the tanning, and while my teeth are healthy they are not gleaming white chiclets. There is no girdle in my future. I am going to make more of an effort to sing and dance and be generally more suave, pausing at certain key points to ask myself WWTJD? MizBubs was mildly startled upon waking this morning (I think she was afraid, briefly, that she'd gotten drunk and fallen into bed with an Elvis impersonator) but she seems happy with it. This is what my hair looked like 18 years ago.
And you know what? I'm happy with it.
"There was no point in looking back, fuck no, not today thank you kindly. My heart was filled with joy. I felt like a monster reincarnation of Horatio Alger; a man on the move, and just sick enough to be totally confident."--H.S. Thompson