So I turned 37 a couple of weeks ago.

Not old by any means, but I’m certainly aging.

I say this — likely through eye rolls from those reading this who are older than my 37 years and two weeks — because the cracks and pops from my knees and the “old man noises” I make whenever I get up or sit down are only becoming more frequent.

Now, to be fair, my knees have cracked and popped since before I was a teenager and the “old man noises” are likely just a product of being around my dad too much growing up, but I feel like they’re becoming more genuine now — less of a joke and more the real thing.

I mean, the picture to go along with my column is far from honest. A few more pounds in the face. A lot more gray in the beard. A little less shine in the eyes. I certainly couldn’t get away with using that photo in a dating profile.

Oh, and a lot less energy, too.

My good pal and former Record-Eagle sports writer Brett Sommers was in town about a month back. He was competing in the Great Lakes Strongman event over at Turtle Creek Stadium. So to celebrate both his accomplishments of lifting really heavy things as many times as he could and him being back in Traverse City, we and several others decided to hit the ol’ town — which meant copious amounts of alcohol at the bars and dancing.

That was the night I started to feel old.

After a couple drinks at the Airbnb he and seven other people were staying at, we headed out to the bars. I think I got to his place by about 10 p.m. that Saturday. By 10:45, I was longing for my recliner.

But I persevered and pushed forward. However, instead of living out my wild and younger days when I would line up shots and then enthusiastically and uncoordinatedly flail about on the dance floor, I went up to the bar, held up my finger and uttered these two words ...

“Water, please.”

Yup. I remember going to bars and not asking for water until the lights were turned on. Those days are behind me, and yes, part of me is really bummed out about that. Part of me wants to fight the old man and the sea that I’m becoming, but I just don’t have the strength in me.

Like I said, my birthday was a couple of weeks ago. I went out with some friends, had some tacos and a couple of drinks at Barrio, and then called it a night before the clock struck 12.

Some of the people with me decided to not call it a night and instead went to Kilkennys. The younger Brendan loved Kilkennys, and that part of me was fighting to drag me over to the basement bar, pour booze into my poor body, hit the dance floor and hope the cover band that night played “Africa” by Toto so I could shamelessly belt it out at the top of my lungs.

But I went home, had a cookie, watched “The Great British Bake Off” and fell asleep. Not nearly as exciting as alcohol and Toto, but probably more age appropriate.

I have to believe that I still have some of those wilder nights left in me, but my guess is there are only a few remaining in the hourglass that is my life’s clock. That’s both fine and sad.

I tell myself/lie to myself that I will reclaim my youthful energy one of these days, that I’ll lose those extra pounds in my face and get the shine back in my eyes. (I quite like the gray in my beard, so that will not fall victim to Just For Men.) But each day that passes without steps in that direction are actually steps I get further away from it.

Getting older is weird, right?

I find myself wondering what my life will look like in the next five years when I’ll be in my early 40s. I don’t really know what to expect, and for the first time in my life that makes me uneasy. I didn’t know before what the future held for me, by I was too naive and dumb to care.

Now I care. Now I worry.

Ah, so this is what a mid-life crisis is ...

Wonderful. Just wonderful.

Email Record-Eagle Sports Editor Brendan Quealy at

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