The big 5-0 – the grumpy old Viking

Oh dear, early this week, I woke up looking at a 50-year-old man in the mirror.

An increase in age is not a surprising development. We all get older daily, so we must be optimistic about and accept nature’s progress. Another year gained, and we are still alive and hopefully in good health.

The downside is that some, like myself, are not getting any prettier with the years added, and my body feels abused every morning when I wake up at 5.15 am. Not naughty, just that my bones, joints, and muscles are getting a little less flexible and grumpy.

Once I get a nice shower, massage the face, adjust the beard, run a brush through my hair, and some pure black Black Rifle Coffee, then my body is starting to warm up and less grumpy. Finally, the steampunk body is ready for action!

I enjoyed waking up and seeing all the loving messages on Facebook, Instagram, email, LinkedIn, and old-school text messages. A great friend even called me, and we chatted for 30 minutes. It truly warmed up the old Viking heart.

I’m not sure what I expected when turning 50. What is so titillating about the big 5-0, and what would happen?

  • Some magic shit turned me into a grumpy old fart overnight, with a stench of urine and an extremely cursing verbalization. With or without magic, I already swear too much!
  • Perhaps a parade of friends, family, and strangers, shouting my name while showering me in Danish beer – and I feast on Danish delights like aged cheese, rye bread, and salty licorice.
  • Another vision is of me sitting by a massive pool, sipping adult beverages from a plastic cup with a little umbrella, and watching my kids do various house chores without making a scene.

All scenarios are improbable and did not even happen. It was just a dream I experienced in my old age. A sudden insane moment of me thinking something big and wonderful would happen when in reality, it wasn’t that big of a deal to shift from 49 to 50.

  • I still wake up at 5.15-5.30 am to prepare the kids for school
  • I still look like shit with or without coffee, but excellent after a few glasses of tequilla
  • My belly is not a six-pack, more like a one-pack
  • I’m still popping pills to stay “healthy.”

What has changed with age?

For starters, it is a fact that joints and muscles are not as energetic any longer. I can still do the heavy lifting, physical work, and other challenging activities, but by gosh, do I pay the price the day(s) after.

Every joint is squicking, making it impossible to sneak into bed after an evening with the boys and a little tipsy. Everything clicks loudly in the darkness, making my wife jump up, reaching for the imaginary AR-15. Thankfully it is just an imitation Harry Potter wand we bought as a souvenir at Universal Studio (FL), with no power to execute the vicious Avada Kedavra curse.

I no longer wake up with a spring in my body. Sure, I rise and shine feeling like a million dollars, but I do not feel the energy flow properly until I’ve had my first cup of pure black Black Rifle coffee to kickstart my internal engines.

The most depressing change is that we move into a different age group when completing questionnaires. Scrolling through the list of birth years on online forms until you reach 1972 becomes exhausting.

Longing for the shores of Viking-land

I have Viking blood flowing through my veins. It has kept me alive during and after my heart adventure in 2018. The fighting spirit I inherited from my ancestors flows through my DNA, and as a result, I often long for the green shores of my hometown.

Stylized map of Denmark. Travel illustration with danish landmarks, architecture, national flag, and other symbols in flat style. Vector illustration

I have become more sentimental about my roots and home country. My new adopted home has embraced me with no qualms or too much concern, despite lengthy interviews with immigration authorities. They even granted me a pistol permit and approved a few rifle purchases. But my native Denmark has a stronger pull on me these days.

I often daydream about visiting my hometown, walking through the city center, and being greeted by people I knew back when I was a young man. Then visit my sister and mother, and enjoy some great times with my family.

I cherish my long-distance friendships. You spot the true friends quickly as they stay in touch despite timezone differences and challenging times. It is magical when they email, message, or call you to chat about life.

One friend once flew in on a Friday, headed to a fantastic concert on the Saturday with an overnight stay, and then flew back Monday evening. Crazy, but we had a blast. That’s what friends do.

A Viking Bash

To celebrate my ascension to adulthood, I threw a little garden party for our close friends here in the US. My Danish relations were invited, but I doubt they would travel despite being offered meat and beer.

Enjoying Mjod in the new drinking horn

Nevertheless, we have developed some great friendships recently and invited about 15 couples with their kids. So in total, we ended up with 40 people in the back garden.

Beer, wine, soda, BBQ, popcorn, pork roast, bacon, salads, burgers, wings, queso, beans, and grilled tofu. What could go wrong, except that I have never grilled tofu?

It was a casual evening, but it quickly became apparent that everyone enjoyed the party. Nobody was busy scrolling through social media on their phones, as their phones stayed in their pockets or bags. Unfortunately, it also meant that we didn’t take many pictures.

We started at 4 pm and the last people left around 11.30 pm—many hours of an excellent company, laughter, and music.

Even the hangover Sunday morning was a nice feeling. My head thumped, I was slightly sweaty, and yet feeling happy about feeling shitty!

The future of the old people

Many people joke that we become wiser with age, but many of the younger people I encounter are damn smart and know a lot about their field of work. We need to give them room to build our future, BUT they need to listen to us old people. I have 30+ years of experience which should count for something.

The younger generations are the people we need to rely on and put our faith in. It is the responsibility of the older generation, i.e., me and you, to share our experiences, so they don’t make the same dumbass mistakes we made.

Many colleges have excellent business programs, but I would love to see better interactions with local businesses. We need to teach high school and college kids how to run a business and about work ethic, to avoid too many culture shocks when they finally join the workforce.

This is where the old fart brigade comes in!

Instead of beating younger generations up, we need to invest time in shaping and guiding them on what it means to work. Help them be successful.

Obviously, we need to make sure they are not eating Tide pods and seeking guidance from TikTok, but there is still some hope left that the younger generations have the aptitude for learning. With sufficient guidance, these padawans will rise to the occasion – or else we are all screwed.

Stay positive. Enjoy life. Share the knowledge. Burn some shit, eat meat, and drink beer! There’s more to life than being a grumpy person.

From another seriously old bearded dude, Gandalf, here’s an awesome quote. Tolkien had it right with his superior guidance.

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