Jeff Pearlman

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Older and older

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Was sitting at the dining room table with some friends tonight, discussing aging.

It was a tough chat.

Aging is one of those things. It really is. You’re 10, you’re 15, you’re 20, you’re 25, you’re 30. It doesn’t feel like you’re aging, because you’re still not aging. You’re a kid, a teen, a college student. First job. Fall in love. Get married—young couple. Have a kid—young parents. You’re youthful. The future is bountiful, because you’re repeatedly told the future is bountiful. Your whole life is in front of you. You can accomplish anything. Go out there and live! Follow your passion! Dream the dream.

Then, one day, you wake up, and your 47th birthday is approaching. And you ask yourself, “What just happened?”

I am about to be 47. Or, put differently, halfway to 94. And while a 62-year-old is reading this and thinking, “Shut the fuck up,” that 62-year-old also knows exactly whereof I speak. You’re young until you’re not young. It just happens. And the weird thing is, you rarely feel it in and of itself. Sure, the back might stiffen. Some hairs could be silver. But what makes you start to feel older is the glare of others. It’s having a couple live across the street, and they’ve got little kids. You see them as peers. They see you the way they describe you to friends—”Just these old people in the house over there.” You start hearing songs you don’t know. Rappers with unfamiliar names. And when you make the effort to familiarize yourself, you sound less cool, more pathetic. Sad, really.

You start doing a lot of number work. I’m 13 years from 60. Thirteen years ago I was 34. I’m 23 years from 70. Twenty three years ago I was 24. You start thinking about the 60s. How do you stay relevant? Do you even want to stay relevant? Can you enjoy retirement? Will you find fulfillment in hobbies?

It’s a deep, dark hole.

I’m staring into it.

  • dick maynard

    Such a worrier you are. Take it from a guy about to turn 80 the really good stuff in life is still ahead.

  • tenn tom

    True that! You are as old as you feel and act.

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Once again, Jeff Pearlman has produced an exhaustively researched, elegantly written book that re-creates one of the most colorful and memorable teams of the modern era. No basketball fan's bookshelf will be complete without it.

— Seth Davis, author of Wooden: A Coach's Life